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FOUNDED IN 1850/VOL. 257. NO. 1538 



3 1 312? 



AFTER VIETNAM 
Jeffrey A. Jay 14 I. IN PURSUIT OF SCAPEGOATS 

Harrison Rainie 23 II. THE MYTH OF PUBLIC INNOCENCE 

Too many people find it easy to blame the veteran for losi 

Gene Lyons 27 POLITICS IN THE WOODS 

On man's unnatural way of regulating nature. 



an unjust war. 



dward Hoagland 39 INTO ERITREA: AFRICA'S RED SEA WAR 

Sixteen years of fighting and still no victory in sight. 



Jaroslav Hasek 55 THE CANOLOGICAL INSTITUTE 
A short story 

Mary Gordon 58 MORE CATHOLIC THAN THE POPE 

The followers of Archbishop Lefebvre on Long Island. 

Jean Rhys 70 Q & A: MAKING BRICKS WITHOUT STRAW 
The interviewer's art of discomposure. 



ARTS AND LETTERS 



DEPARTMENTS 



Diana Johnstone 74 LANGLOIS'S BATHTUB 

French cinema has had its magus; 
it now needs a cinematheque. 

BOOKS 

iargaret Drabble 82 A review of The World According 
to Garp, by John Irving. 

John Lahr 84 A review of New York Jew, 
by Alfred Kazin. 

PaulBerman, 88 BOOKS IN BRIEF 
effrey Burke, and 
ranees Taliaferro 



Lewis H. Lapham 



6 LETTERS 
6 MacNelly 

11 THE EASY CHAIR 
The enchantments of 
barbarism. 



Tom Wolfe 73 IN OUR TIME 

John Fischer 90 AMERICAN 

MISCELLANY 
The uses of barbed 



E. R. Galli and 94 PUZZLE 
Richard Maltby, Jr. Triskaidekacode 



iver photograph by Bob Adelman 



ITOR: Lewis H. Lapham 

T DIRECTOR: Sheila Wolfe 

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illy Helgcsen, Russell Lynes, Peter McCabe, 
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Irl Shorris, William Tucker 

NTRIBUTING ARTISTS : Martim Avillez, Jeff MacNelly, 



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3 



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LETTERS 



The ends of terrorism 

McCarthyism in West Germany? 

An excessive counterreaction of re- 
pression was, indeed, one of the left- 
wing terrorists' original aims — a kind 
of political jujitsu. It is puzzling that 
David Zane Mairowitz ["Scissors in 
the Head," May] makes no mention 
of the fact that this was a deliberate 
goal of theirs. 

It is also puzzling that Mairowitz 
makes no effort to condemn the mur- 
ders committed by the Baader-Mein- 
hof group for gang) and their asso- 
ciates, before attacking what he be- 
lieves to be excessive counterreaction. 
Murder is murder, regardless of who 
commits it. 

There are several issues involved. 



One is how to reform the legal system 
so that it no longer allows defense 
lawyers to delay trials indefinitely or 
slip weapons to their clients — yet to 
accomplish this without destroying the 
right of accused persons to a fair trial. 
This is a difficult and technical ques- 
tion, involving the balancing of differ- 
ent rights against each other. 

Another issue is whether the terror- 
ists committed suicide or were killed 
in their cells by angry and overzealous 
guards imposing the death sentence 
extralegaily. I must admit to having 
been extremely skeptical when the news 
was announced; suicide is conceivable 
but implausible. I was surprised when 
Time and other magazines agreed with 
the suicide story after investigation. 
There clearly ought to be some kind 
of investigatory commission. But it 



should be an impartial group, such 
Amnesty International, rather than 
group that has specialized in left-wii 
causes only. 

A third issue is the problem of wic 
spread public fear and jumpiness wh 
homicidal terrorists are at large. T 
best analogy is to consider the pro 
lem confronted by a society when 
apolitical mass murderer, such as "S< 
)f Sam" or "the Boston Strangler 
is known to be at work. If the culpi 
were known to have red hair, sa 
then every red-haired man would 
unfairly under suspicion while tl 
murderer remained at large. But 
would hope that things could retui 
to normal afterwards, and that sui 
able financial compensation could 
given to people whose houses we) 
broken into on false alarms. 




VIOST CLOCKS TELL TIME. 



Mat .115. EU 



OCTOBER 26, 1977 

is world population dock, in Washington, 
C, is in constant motion. It shows world 
pulation growing at about three people per 
:ond, or a quarter of a million people per 

y- 



U.35S.7 51.6U 



DECEMBER 31, 1977 

In the last 66 days of 1977, we added 16 4 
illion people to the world's population — 
ore than double the population of Manhattan, 
nicago, and Los Angeles combined. 



ML 



DECEMBER 31, 1978 

In the 14 months since October, 1977, we 
ill have added nearly 107 million people, 
-'hich is equal to the total population of all of 
[astern Europe (East Germany, Hungary, Bul- 
;aria, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Poland) 

The clock clearly shows that the demand 
or many things is rapidly increasing. Why? 
because of the enormous increase in the num- 
>ers of people who need them. 

We are being constantly misled by people 
,vho talk about the "production" of more oil, or 
'as, or water, when, in fact, we produce none of 
-hese things. Natu r e provided us with a limited 
supply of gas and oil, which we are now burn- 
ing very rapidly. We have already burned more 
than half of what nature provided, and can 
easily burn up the rest within a few decades. 

There will be no more 

Nature also provided us with abundant 
renewable resources, such as food, water and 
wood. However, these are supplied to us in 
quantities adequate for a limited number of 
people. Our numbers can now consume more 
each year than nature provides, and the 
number of consumers continues to grow. 

Years ago, we passed the point where we 
could get by on annual rainfall for our water. 



This Clock 
Tells 

Man's Future 



We started then to mine underground water left 
by glaciers ten thousand years ago This water 
is rapidly disappearing It will not be renewed 
in ten thousand years. 

Years ago, we started a program of tree 
planting to replace those we cut, but this is no 
answer With ever-increasing demand for wood, 
people consistently cut down more trees than 
they are able to grow This might be corrected if 
population growth could be stopped; but we 
are now producing people faster than we are 
producing the trees to supply them. 

Currendy, only the U.S. and a few other 
countries can grow as much food as they need. 
All of the other countries are living pardy on 
imports and many approach the starvation 
level. Although the situation is bad now, it can 
become much worse Each year, there are 
about 90 million more people to be fed and 
otherwise supplied These additional people 



need housing, schools, service facilities, and 
roads These remove land from any possibility 
of farming Always less available land, and 
always more people It should be plain to 
anyone that shortages can only get worse — 
unless population growth is halted 

It is a simple problem of supply and de- 
mand 

Nearly everyone gives some thought to the 
matter of supply of limited resources, and yet 
the answer to the problem cannot possibly be 
found on the supply side, precisely because the 
supply is limited The population clock re- 
lentlessly shows us the futility of trying to in- 
crease supply, if the demand side, the number 
of people, forever increases. 

Population growth must stop Nature's only 
solution is to raise the death rate The human 
alternative is to lower the birth rate There is no 
third alternative 




THE ENVIRONMENTAL FUND 



N.W. 



WASHINGTON, DC 20036 
GARRETT HARDIN 



1302 EIGHTEENTH STREET, 
O.rectors JUSTIN BLACKWELDER • EMERSON FOOTE 

WILLIAM C PADDOCK • BURNS W ROPER • ADOLPH W SCHMIDT 

The Environmental Fund does not solicit memberships or contributions, but, if you, too, are 
concerned about the issues raised in this Statement, and would like to be on our mailing list, let 
us know 



Mr. Justin Blackwelder, President 
THE ENVIRONMENTAL FUND, INC. 

1302 18th Street, N W. 
Washington, D C 20036 



NAME 



ADDRESS. 
CITY 



ZlP_ 



Comments-. 



LETTERS 



A non-issue is the question of wheth- 
er the victim Hans-Martin Schleyer 
was an SS member during World War 
II. If he was, then presumably he 
went through denazification proce- 
dures while Germany was under Allied 
occupation, and was either punished 
or exonerated. If someone had been a 
Communist thirty-two years earlier, 
what would Mairowitz have said of a 
group that asserted that this was rea- 
son enough to slay him? Would he 
condemn such a group, or would he 
condone it? 

Glenn T. Wilson 
Edwardsville. 111. 

David Zane Mairowitz replies: 

The original aim of the Baader- 
Meinhof group was to bring about not 
repression, but rather a right-wing 
overreaction that would polarize polit- 
ical forces and lead to revolution. 

The government measures described 
in my article are clearly aimed not at 
the terrorists, but at left-wing and 
liberal groups, many of which have 
dissociated themselves from Baader- 
Meinhofism. There are already nu- 
merous German and international laws 
to cope with terrorism. The ones I 
describe are chiefly censorship mea- 
sures. Some of them were conceived or 
instituted before the Baader-Meinhof 
group was even formed. 

"Widespread public fear and jumpi- 
ness when homicidal terrorists are at 
large" is indeed cause for extraordi- 
nary police measures. Such fear can, 
and has, historically served the pur- 
poses of authoritarian regimes as well. 

In my article I did not condone the 
murder of Schleyer. but simply pointed 
out you could not mention publicly his 
SS past during the kidnapping episode. 

Volumes have already been written 
about the German terrorists. Most of 
this serves to obscure a more banal 
reality. It was not my intention to 
dismiss the threat of terrorism, but 
to show other sinister goings-on in 
Germany as the media smokescreen 
begins to clear. 



Sex and intersex 



Roger Starr ["Cutting the Ties That 
Bind," May] rightly opposes "trans- 
sexual" operations, but asserts some 
very silly arguments. It is not neces- 
sary to argue that murder would be- 



come epidemic if laws against murder 
were ended. For it is not 22,000 mur- 
ders a year in the U.S. that is wrong 
but the murder of even one person. 
It is enough torsay that murder is a 
grave moral evil to justify laws against 
it. And so with castration. 

In order to send more and more 
confused homosexuals to the knife, 
society will lie about what manhood 
and womanhood are. it will falsify 
records and endorse contradictory 
standards of proof ( for the Olympics, 
a chromosome test governs: for tennis, 
a court paper will do ) . All because 
society persistently refuses to accept 
the fact that a man can love a man — 
sexually. 

There is no problem in "identifying" 
gender, save for the rare — and al- 
ways sterile — biological intersexes. 
Men who have fathered children are 
being castrated in the United States 
today by "doctors" who justify the 
very existence of "transsexual" opera- 
tions on the basis that they are valid 
for biological intersexes — and thus, 
presumably, valid for psychological 
intersexes. But there is no such thing 
as a psychological intersex, only a 
well-adjusted or maladjusted person. 
Therefore, a doctor who castrates a 
man who says he is a woman is not 
one whit less a quack than would be 
a doctor who inserts a light in the 
roof of the mouth of a person who 
says he's a refrigerator. The inmates 
are in charge of the asylum. 

The insane are entitled to lie to 
themselves. Society is not. And society 
holds the safety of the insane as a 
trust: We are not supposed to let 
them hurt themselves. Transsexual op- 
erations are a crime against humanity 
and against truth. That is reason 
enough to ban them. 

L. Craig Schoonmaker 
New York, N.Y. 

Mr. Starr's simplistic pronounce- 
ments are likely to cause severe per- 
sonal anguish to those people who were 
born with an intersex condition or 
with a defect of the sex organs, re- 
quiring surgical/hormonal correction. 

That transsexualism is a serious 
psvchological and medical condition 
is abundantly clear. It is not mere 
whim or "choice" which results in 
leaving one's family — parents, wife, 
and children — seeking counseling (and 
many transsexual and transvestite pa- 



tients do so ) , undergoing surgery,! 
establishing a new social and ^ „ 
life. Many struggle desperately 
years to contain the condition w; 
the confines of a traditional s< 
sexual life, and beg to be relieve* 
the condition and the concomi 
anxiety and depression. \^ ithholt 
sex reassignment from the care! 
selected and counseled patient mt 
withholding whatever medical sch 
can offer by way of alleviating hui 
suffering. 

Dr. Eileen Higi 
Baltimore, 

Considering the number of so 
ills the women's movement is accu r , 
of fomenting. I thought myself inui 
But Roger Starr's incredible acci 
tion that egalitarian impulses are n 
causing sex-change operations stopj 
me short. Bra-burning one minute 
suppose, and breast amputation 
next. See where it all leads? Won 
have to go out and earn a living: tl 
I naturally ) begin to hate men a 
next thing you know, there they a 
in the operating room having penis 
grafted on. 

Leonora H. Sml 
East Lansing, Mic 

Roger Starr replies: 

Even as some sexual revolutionari 
howl for the scalps of male "oppn 
sors" and "rapists," others, like Le 
nora H. Smith, suggest that a revol 
tionary change in the human cone 
tion can please everyone. Despite h 
euphoria, many members of both sex' 
have been thwarted, puzzled, and a 
guished by the demands placed c 
them by a redefinition of sexual rol< 
and attitudes. Smith surely may b 
lieve the general gains are worth tl 
private pains, but to pretend thei 
have been no pains reflects an amput; 
tion of vision. If she does not believ 
that the sexual discomfort of the timt 
has stimulated the growing deman 
for "sexual reassignment," let her su£ 
gest a better explanation. 

Dr. Higham says I'm too "sin 
plistic" in writing about the complical 
ed subject of transsexualism: Schoor 
maker says I'm too complicated i 
writing about the simple subject o 
self-mutilation. Let them square off i: 
an appropriately sound-deadened aren 
and settle the matter between them. C 
harper's/july 197 



8 



T H E EASY C II A I R 



THE MELANCHOLY HERD 



Further thoughts on the American bedouin 



by Lewis H. Lapham 



I 



N early may, Menachem Begin, 
the Prime Minister of Israel, came 
to the United States to speak 
against the sale of weapons to 
Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In New York, 
veil as in a number of other cities, 
he held off-the-record conversations 
with representatives of the American 
media. I don't know how he was re- 
ceived in Washington or Los Angeles, 
but in New York he failed to make 
much of an impression on the news- 
paper editors and television correspon- 
dents who agreed to listen to his peti- 
tion. Most of those present could be 
counted as celebrities, and nearly all 
of them looked upon Mr. Begin with 
e condescension. Admiring him 
as a celebrity, and therefore as an 
object briefly deserving of their atten- 
tion, the mages of the press thought 
that they had done Mr. Begin a favor 
by allowing him to draw near the 
thrones of conscience. Everybody used 
more or less the same language to 
discuss more or less the same subject 
(i.e.. the likelihood of World War 
III I . but Mt. Begin made the mistake 
of talking about things — about build- 
ings burned, children maimed, ene- 
mies in arms. His interlocutors pre- 
ferred to conduct the discourse in the 
realm of words. They talked about the 
reality of Israel only as it was re- 
flected in the American public opinion 
polls, about the phrasing of a speech 
in the Knesset, about the adjectives in 
U.N. Resolution 242. Toward the end 
of the conversation one of the presid- 
ing mages asked Mr. Begin to discuss 
Lewis H. Lapham is the editor of Harper's. 



the Arab question in the context of 
Israeli domestic politics, with specific 
reference to the division between Left 
and Right. Mr. Begin looked at this 
gentleman with an expression of pa- 
tient irony, and then, almost as if he 
had been speaking to a child, he said: 
"It is not a question of Left and Right. 
It is a question of right and wrong." 
The mage undoubtedly regarded the 
answer as indelicate — a ruffian's 
breach of etiquette and a descent into 
moralism. 

I have no wish to argue for or 
against Mr. Begin's policy, but I 
couldn't help but remark on the fatu- 
ousness of the mage. He had become 
accustomed to living in a world of 
theatrical representation, where, as in 
the child's puppet show of the media, 
frogs frequently turn into princes. 
Images of prime ministers were no 
more substantial than images of kings 
and psychopaths. They flickered up 
out of the unknowable depths, floated 
briefly on the surface of the news, and 
then disappeared, as mysteriously as 
they had come, into the void. 

The credulity of the mage, and by 
extension of the American press as a 
whole, again reminded me of the no- 
madism that distinguishes the eques- 
trian classes in the United States. Last 
month in this space I referred to the 
American bedouin and drew a com- 
parison between the tribes of the 
Arabian desert and their American 
counterparts who conceive of democ- 
racy as a pastoral wandering through 
a department store. Several readers 
objected to the comparison because 



they thought that I had not taken 
proper account of modern education, 
hygiene, and technology. Americans, 
they said, endowed universities and 
built glass office buildings; they sub- 
scribed to the New York Times and 
lived in safe suburbs. How could they 
be compared to a primitive people still 
roaming across the sand in the com- 
pany of hawks and camels? 



THE reply TO this question 
occurred to me while think- 
ing about Mr. Begin and the 
mage. Like the bedouin in 
the desert, the American press dwells 
within the miraculous present. Words 
take the place of things; feeling passes 
for thought, and the magical power 
of language makes and remakes the 
world as if geopolitics were a matter 
of stage design. In the same way that 
the gossip columns report the erotic 
transience of celebrities, the editorial 
pages announce the comings and 
goings of treaties, Presidents, ideas, 
and policies. In Hollywood, a man and 
wife appear together three nights in 
succession, and the papers describe 
their marriage with catch-phrases ap- 
propriate to the NATO alliance. The 
wife then goes off on location with a 
lesbian companion, and the husband 
departs for Mexico with an actress 
nominated for last year's Academy 
Award. The papers report crisis and an 
end to Western civilization. A week 
later both husband and wife return to 
Hollywood, the husband with the wife's 
lesbian friend, the wife with a rock 



11 



THE EASY CHAIR 



singer who once had been married to 
the actress with whom the husband 
was traveling in Mexico. All the dra- 
matis personae go to the same dis- 
cotheque, and the papers report com- 
promise and new initiatives. 

Given only a change of names and 
venue, much the same kind of news 
arrives from Washington. On President 
Carter's recent trip to Nigeria, the 
press sent back photographs of him 
with Nigerian generals in picturesque 
costume, smiling fondly into the cam- 
eras and announcing his hope for 
peace and self-determination in Africa. 
None of the reports mentioned the 
Biafran war, in which the Nigerian 
generals ordered the mass starvation 
of millions of I bo tribesmen. Nobody 
thought to put the newly declared pol- 
icy of human rights in historical per- 
spective. The same columnists who, 
five years earlier, had been writing so 
eloquently about genocide, found them- 
selves writing, equally eloquently, 
about the triumph of African democ- 
racy. Often having wondered about 
the absence of national memory, I 
begin to suspect that it follows from 
an assumption either of grace or a 
boundless inheritance. Only the heirs 
of fairy gold can afford to live in the 
magical present, to rest content with 
fantasy and rumor. 

With regard to the Arabs the point 
needs little elaboration. Until the 1920s 
few people in Saudi Arabia had seen 
the wheel. The nomadic tribes in- 
habited a desolate waste, barely man- 
aging to sustain the meager levels of 
subsistence. Within the memory of 
living men they found themselves en- 
riched beyond the dreams of Tamer- 
lane. The transformation required 
nothing of the Arabs but their passive 
acquiescence to the will of Allah and 
the foreign oil consortiums. They in- 
herited their wealth from people else- 
where in the world who had accu- 
mulated it over a period of centuries. 
The Western societies first had to 
conceive of political constitutions and 
the rule of law, to wage civil and 
world wars, to put down strikes, or- 
ganize labor unions, impose taxes, and 
suffer all the other ills to which the 
modern industrial state owes both its 
discontent and its existence. The cost 
of this enterprise in blood, labor, and 
sacrifice cannot be counted. But to 
the Arab the cost is as little worth as 
smoke drifting in the wind. 



MUCH the same light-mind- 
edness has become habitual 
among those classes within 
American society that re- 
gard themselves as patrician. The num- 
ber of people belonging to these clas- 
ses has multiplied since World War 
II at a rate commensurate with their 
expectations of privilege. Having come 
of age during an era of extraordinary 
prosperity, they assume as their right- 
ful inheritance not only the refine- 
ments of Western thought but also an 
economy of such supernatural power 
that it renews itself in the same way 
that the grass comes north with the 
spring. This superstition excuses them 
from the bourgeois preoccupation with 
trade. The fathers and grandfathers 
might have been merchants and farm- 
ers, but the sons and grandsons dis- 
dain the work of cultivation. They 
have taken up the professions that 
confer an aura of dignity and that 
allow them to deal with platonic forms 
rather than with the uncertain shadows 
in Plato's cave. Whenever possible they 
have become lawyers and foundation 
officials, diplomatists, professors, jour- 
nalists, government functionaries, crit- 
ics, and critics of critics — people who 
decide what lesser people w ill do, who 
supervise the manufacture of memo- 
randa rather than goods. They have 
inherited the stewardship of the prin- 
cipal American institutions without 
knowing what constitutes the burden 
of their authority, or whence it came, 
or what it cost their forefathers. 

Just as heirs subsisting on trust 
funds seldom understand the reality 
of money, so also the mages who pre- 
side over the American media have 
only a vague conception of what is 
meant by the First Amendment. In- 
stead of thinking of it as a right de- 
manding the constant exercise of their 
courage and intelligence, they accept 
the guarantee of free speech and a 
free press as if it were a prerogative 
granted by George III. If the chronicle 
of the Arab wanderings reduces itself 
to the tale of a man and his camel, 
the history of the American manda- 
rinate over the past thirty years re- 
duces itself to the tale of a man and 
his trust fund. In many ways it is the 
same story, demonstrating the parallel 
pathologies in the primitive and dec- 
adent modes of barbarism. 

The man who makes things — wheth- 
er families, cities, ideas, or works of 



art — learns to look around or befTind 
the mirror of self. He comes to un- 
derstand the obduracy of the soil or 
the stone, and he measures his vic- 
tories (usually Pyrrhic J over periods 
of time longer than those sold on tele- 
vision. If he depends for his liveli- 
hood on the value of his work in a 
market, then he also learns something 
about other people — what they want, 
hope for. feel, and believe. 

Not so the bedouin. He swears 
fealty only to the sovereignty of the 
moment and justifies his narcissism as 
being a preliminary condition to the 
search for morality, consciousness, 
and truth. Dwelling' within the evan- 
gelical dimension of the human po- 
tential movements, he cannot bear to 
foreclose what he calls his "options." 
or to limit the availability of infinite 
choice. He avoids "'commitments" and 
finds it demeaning to bind himself to 
any specific loyalty. Believing the line 
of succession ends with his claiming 
of the inheritance, he feels no obliga- 
tion to provide for the next generation. 
Other people play the piano and bear 
children. The patrician counts it his 
duty to encourage and admire, to pass 
vaguely through the room while dis- 
playing the puritv of his intentions 
and the delicacy of his sensibility. He 
defines himself as a '"generalist," a 
man who knows about rather than 
knows, a constitutional monarch who 
congratulates himself for his apprecia- 
tion of the rituals of democracy. This 
is the aristocratic habit of mind, as 
characteristic of Nelson or David 
Rockefeller as it is of the countless 
lawyers and academics who, briefly 
transformed into federal bureaucrats 
but remembering very little about the 
geography of Alaska or the mechanics 
of the energy industries, nevertheless 
take it upon themselves to announce 
public policy. 

Among people who have forgotten 
how to make things, and who there- 
fore depend upon the creativity or the 
doggedness of others, the majeslv of 
money becomes all but divine. Con- 
>i(lci the diligence with which the 
American mandarinate prostrates itself 
before the golden face of the Arabian 
Pharaoh. Hardly a day passes that 
some newspaper in the country doesn't 
publish a photograph of a real estate 
developer or municipal official stand- 
ing with an Arab who has just bought 
the local bank. In Washington, Presi- 



12 



j dent Carter hustles the sale of $4.8 bil- 
j ion in military aircraft to both sides 
af the next war in the Middle East. 
\elson Rockefeller goes to Riyadh to 
isk for money with which to refurnish 
! :he American landscape. In New York, 
j publishers of books think of schemes 
:o attract any wandering Arab with 
a bawd's promise of immortality. 

By travelers returning from the Per- 
sian Gulf I have been told that few 
princes can concentrate their interest 
on anything other than themselves for 
longer than fifteen seconds. The same 
brief span of attention distinguishes 
the American equestrian class. Know- 
ing nothing of history and expecting 
nothing of the future, they cannot es- 
cape the fearful isolation of the pres- 
ent. In their sadness they join to- 
gether in a melancholy herd. They 
want so much more than the world of- 
fers, and so, like children, they clutch 
at everything but hold nothing fast. 
Their desires must be promptly and 
easily satisfied, or else they become 
listless and despondent. They build 
houses but sell them before they have 
lived in them; they take up and aban- 
don professions as if they were trying 
on masks, and their lives become a se- 
quence of failed attempts to find their 
way out of the interior desert of 
alienation. 



IF THE NOMADIC MELANCHOLY were 
confined to the equestrian classes, 
then it might be dismissed as sim- 
ply another variation on the truism 
that unearned wealth brings unhap- 
piness to the people who possess it. 
Unfortunately the same melancholy 
and the same sense of magical inher- 
itance pervades the whole of Amer- 
ican society. 

Business corporations provide their 
executives not only with munificent 
salaries but also with privileges worthy 
of the eighteenth-century French no- 
bility — with yachts, limousines, body- 
guards, luxurious food, first-class trav- 
el, memberships in golf and shooting 
clubs. The members of Congress pay 
themselves $57,500 a year and vote 
themselves equivalent tokens of self- 
esteem. The labor unions have become 
notorious for the practice of demand- 
ing payment for work that nobody 
performs. Professional and amateur 
criminals, more obviously predatory 
in their nomadism, carry out their 



raids against society in the routine 
manner of commuters going to an 
office. The unreported income assumed 
to be taken each year by organized 
crime, gambling, and prostitution 
amounts to as much as $100 billion. 
In the lower reaches of society, the 
idea of droit du seigneur translates 
itself into welfare money. Just as a 
rich man sustained by a trust fund 
feels himself entitled to his sinecure 
by virtue of his innate dignity, so the 
man receiving transfer payments feels 
himself entitled to a benefice by reason 
of his misfortune. 

The unhappiness of a nomadic so- 
ciety reflects itself not only in the rest- 
lessness of the consumer markets but 
also in the rage against permanence. 
The American fondness for celebrities 
testifies to the general delight in the 
perpetual moment. Of all celebrities, 
sports figures are the most beloved 
because they are the most ephemeral. 
The cities resemble nomad camps, 
temporarily inhabited by people on 
the way to somewhere else. Thus their 
squalor and bankruptcy. The Ameri- 
can bedouin can outfit expeditions — 
whether to Vietnam, California, or 
the moon — but they don't have much 
talent for architecture. Buildings re- 
mind them of authority and decay, 
of children, civilization, marriage, 
and death. The architects in New York 
don't expect their office towers to stand 
much longer than twenty-five years; 
publishers print books on paper not 
meant to hold together for more than 
twenty years. Issues degenerate into 
causes, and belief becomes diversion. 
The bedouin become accustomed to 
watching television, and so they imag- 
ine that wars begin between com- 
mercials and that a woman's life can 
be transformed in the space of half an 
hour. Seeking to relieve their anxiety 
they draw closer together in their 
herds, assuring one another that noth- 
ing evil can befall them. Their profes- 
sions of mutual self-adoration protect 
them against their own terror, and so 
their narcissism becomes not only a 
voluntary aggression but also a neces- 
sary defense. 



To THE degree that the society 
cannot relinquish the plea- 
sures of barbarism, the soci- 
ety remains suspended in Pa- 
leolithic time. The conquering tribes 



traditionally have come out of the des- 
ert, because in an emptiness that cor- 
responds to their own inner desolation 
the bedouin can be persuaded to be- 
hold visions. Exhorted by fantastic 
prophecy and believing themselves im- 
mortal, the tribes make war to repu- 
diate death and to give the lie to their 
own feeling of insignificance. 

Surely this was the story of the 
1960s in the United States. Stopping 
up their loneliness with frenzied pro- 
fessions of faith (in the environment, 
black power, civil rights, feminism, 
peace in Asia, Consciousness III, et 
cetera ) the bedouin proclaimed a jihad 
against the institutions that provided 
them with their patrimony. Through- 
out the 1960s I kept meeting self-pro- 
fessed revolutionaries, usually at a 
cocktail party given by George Plimp- 
ton, and I was invariably reminded of 
the French aristocrats in the late eigh- 
teenth century who so sympathetically 
discussed the books and pamphlets 
that supplied the social theory for the 
guillotine. 

President Carter apparently means 
to continue in the same mode of self- 
righteous fantasy. The government 
finances arms deals, and Mr. Carter, 
in the persona of a latter-day Rous- 
seau, wanders around the country 
preaching sermons against the medical 
and legal establishments. 

But instead of goats and automatic 
rifles, the American bedouin possess 
nuclear submarines and F-15's. Al- 
though Mr. Carter explained the arms 
sale as being conducive to peace, I 
suspect that it had more to do with 
the restlessness of a rich nation that 
couldn't bear to deal itself out of a 
market or a war. Like the journalist 
and the desert nomad, the American 
bedouin has only a weak and unstable 
sense of self. Isolated in the magical 
present and lacking the habit of 
thought, in many ways the rich man 
can be said to barely exist. How else 
can he assert his presence except by 
the use of his money? How else can 
the United States demonstrate its im- 
portance except by providing the 
wherewithal for the most spectacular 
of the performing arts? If the French 
or the Russians got the business, what 
would become of American self-re- 
spect? How could the equestrian classes 
continue to believe themselves masters 
of the world? □ 
harper's/july 1978 



13 



AFTER 
VIETNAM: 

I. 

IN PURSUIT OF 
SCAPEGOATS 



The veteran as pariah 



by Jeffrey A. Jay 



THE VIETNAM VETERAN had 
come to the Veterans' Admin- 
istration Hospital because of 
tormenting nightmares, rage, 
and depression. He wanted an oppor- 
tunity to testify about his actions and 
suffering. 

/ know it sounds crazy to say it, 
but I loved it and at the same time 
I hated it. Like the time I cut off 
the gook's ear and I cut him in ttvo 
with my automatic; I got to say it, 
I loved killing. And at the same 
time I know it was terrible. But 
now I don't understand it. I don't 
want to talk about it. Or it's like I 
really can't talk about it, but I can't 
stop thinking about what happened. 
It's been like this for seven years. 
Going from one doctjr to the next, 
one V.A. clinic after the other, and 
all I got was medication. That helps 
a little but nobody listens. . . . 

So long as I could view the young 
man as a patient, I needed to think 
of his cure as only a problem of tech- 
nique — not an unusual response among 
therapists, for it keeps the roles per- 
fectly clear. Scared and confused by 
my own feelings, I retreated into the 
safety of professionalism. I put the vet- 

Jeffrey A. Jay is a postdoctoral fellow at the 
Center for Family Research at George Wash- 
ington University, Washington, D.C. 




eran into a trance. In fact, hypnother- 
apy was a treatment of choice for the 
war-related problems of this ex-Marine, 
yet it helped neither him nor the other 
half-dozen \ ietnam veterans I coun- 
seled. Hypnotherapy assumes that a 
psychiatric conflict exists to be treated 
only inside the unconscious mind. And 
both psychiatrists and the lay public 
are quick to see the ruined marriages, 
unemployment, and drug abuse among 
the 3 million Vietnam veterans as symp- 
toms of psychiatric damage, warrant- 
ing compensation or medical attention. 
My own talks with veterans convince 



me that their problems are not so sim- 
ple, nor so easily addressed. The vete- 
ran's conflicts are not his alone, but 
are bound to the trauma and guilt of 
the nation. And our failure to deal with 
our guilt renders the veteran the symp- 
tom-carrier for society and increases 
his moral and emotional burden. This 
burden isolates the veteran and will 
freeze him in an attitude of perpetual 
combat until the issues of the war are 
confronted in the national conscience. 

The veteran's isolation was main- 
tained in my hypnotherapy: hence its 
failure. Group therapy provided a fo- 
rum in which individual experiences 
could be shared and validated. 

After I got home I wore my uni- 
form everywhere. I was real proud 
'cause I fought and I knew that it 
teas crazy there, but at home, "back 
in the world" we called it, it would 
make sense. But it was all crazy 
here too. All those damn protesters 
and nobody knew what it was 
really like [in Vietnam] or to come 
back. . . . I was as jumpy as when 
I was on patrol. I began drinking 
again and took off my uniform. I 
didn't drink with nobody either 
because they would say something 
to me about being crazy for all the 
ivar shit and I fought until I almost 
killed someone. 



14 



/ know what you're talking about. 
I know I shouldn't, but I keep 
watching war movies and I cry. . . . 
My wife says I'm silly, and she is 
a real good wife, but I can't help 
it. And then I can't talk to her for 
a week and it's like I hate her, but 
I / know I don't. Then someone sins 
something about Vietnam . . . like in 
a joke. . . . They don't know what 
it was like. And you can't talk to 
them. They don't even want to 
know what it was about. Everyone 
got some damn theory about it any- 
way. 

It's like it never happened to 
me, but it's in my dreams and I 
keep seeing it all over again. My 
motorcycle backfires and I feel like 
I'm there fighting slant-eyes. Then 
I want to kill them all again. 

Yeah, that's it. Exactly. I'm in a 
bar and somebody says something 
about my nerves because I got this 
little shake, and I walk right out of 
there because he makes me feel like 
a poor jerk who needs his sym- 
pathy or something. 

They think you're crazy or some 
kind of a fool for going in the first 
place. Look, we all know what the 
outcome of all that fighting was. 
. . . I thought when I went it was 
for the country. But it was for 
nothing and all those guys killed 
and shot to pieces and there's no 
monuments. Nobody remembers or 
says anything about them. And 
what's the government doing for all 
those families; is it telling anybody 
what really came down there? 
There's nothing being done and il 
will never be finished for me until 
something is done. That's what gets 
me the most; it was all for nothing 
and all those guys. . . . [Crying in- 
terrupts the session.] 

ALTHOUGH THE NATION hastens 
on to new issues, the veteran 
- — years after discharge — re- 
peatedly reviews the events of 
his Vietnam duty. He seeks to justify 
his war experiences in a society that 
now denies them any meaning. The 
veteran cannot reconcile the beliefs 
that propelled him through combat 
with his current social isolation; he 
cannot accept the status of social pa- 
riah. It may well be that isolation, the 
burden of conflicted feelings, and not 
being heard makes people crazy. 



For those who 

subscribe to For those who 

Harper's only after subscribe to 

it wins awards. Harper's anyway. 



The 21st Annual Gerald Loeb Thank you. Now 

Award just went to Lewis H. you can return to 

Lapham, editor of Harper's Mag- the magazine. 

azine, for "The Energy Debacle." 

A tough and sobering commen- 
tary, said the Board, "which 
brings into sharp focus the energy 
issue and some of the personalities 
debating solutions at the national 
level. Reporting with wit and in- 
sight on the politics behind the Ford 
Foundation Energy Policy Project, 
the writer deals with America's 
energy shortage and the steps taken 
by government to solve it, as well 
as the political clash between the 
developer mentality and the con- 
servationist approach." 

In addition, the Loeb Advisory 
Board voted Honorable Mention 
to William Tucker of Harpers Mag- 
azine for "Environmentalist!! and 
the Leisure Class." Although a run- 
ner-up category does not formally 
exist in the Loeb Awards classifica- 
tion system, the Board decided 
that this article was so well written, 
carefully documented, and dis- 
turbing that it deserved special 
recognition. 

The Loeb Awards are given each 
year to encourage and reward the 
highest standards of reporting and 
interpretation of news of business, 
investment, and finance and are 
considered the Pulitzer Prize of busi- 
ness and financial journalism. 

If you now feel somewhat more 
excited about having a Harper's 
subscription of your own, please 
look for subscription details at 
page 8 or 84- in this magazine. 



15 



Steel must comply with 5,60 
Federal agencies. Its a wondi 




Regulatory reform: ^^^^ 
part of the solution to the steel industry puzzle 



filiations from 27 
e get anything done. 



The Declaration of Indepen- 
dence set forth America's griev- 
ances against King George of 
England. Included was the charge 
that he had "erected a Multitude of 
new Offices and sent hither 
Swarms of Officers to harrass our 
people...!' 

That quote still carries a valid 
warning for all of us about the 
danger of too much government 
regulation — not only in our busi- 
ness lives, but in our private lives. 

Overregulation by govern- 
ment is no joke. 

According to a study recently 
completed at Washington Univer- 
sity in St. Louis, the cost to business 
for complying with government 
regulations exceeds $62 billion a 
year — or about $300 for every 
man, woman, and child in the U.S. 
Beyond that, the government itself 
spends about $3.2 billion a year to 
administer those regulations. 

But no matter who spends 
those dollars initially, all of us as 
American consumers and tax- 
payers eventually pick up the tab. 

Our ultimate cost may be paid 
for in the sacrifice of individual 
freedom as government intrudes 
into more and more areas ot 
private and business life. 



^Source: Council on Wage and Price Stability 



Why we're concerned. 

Bethlehem and other domestic 
steel producers now are required 
to comply with more than 5,600 
regulations from 27 agencies of the 
U.S. Government? 

These 5,600 Federal regula- 
tions pertain only to the making 
of steel. Thousands of other regula- 
tions impact upon our mining, 
transportation, and marketing 
operations. We also cope with addi- 
tional thousands of state and local 
regulations. 

The time and money we spend 
hacking through the regulatory 
jungle adds needless cost to the 
making of steel — and that takes 
money out of everyone's pocket- 
book. 



Must business strangle to death 
in red tape? 

We say no. Some regulation 
is always needed. But things have 
gone too far. Today, regulatory 
reform is needed. And needed fast. 
Business and government should 
work together to reduce the burden 
and high cost of red tape — it won't 
come about by itself. What's 
needed is the support of all 
Americans. 

If you agree that overregula- 
tion by government is a serious 
problem, make your views known 
where they count. Write your 
representatives in Washington and 
your state capital. 

Bethlehem Steel Corporation, 
Bethlehem, PA 18016. 




In search of solutions. 



AFTER VIETNAM 



Typically the veteran enters therapy 
with complaints of depression, chronic 
tremors, disturbed sleep, rage attacks, 
and flashbacks — periods when he be- 
lieves himself once again in combat, 
acts irrationally, and appears agitated. 
He describes this behavior with a re- 
morse that is often suicidal. He com- 
plains, almost pleads, that he was not 
like this before the war, begins to ex- 
plain how he has changed, then stops 
and asks suspiciously if I was in Viet- 
nam. 

My negative answer prompts a dra- 
matic change in his tone, a shift from 
involvement in his tale to resignation, 
apathy, and futility. He explains that 
I cannot possibly understand what it 
was like. While that statement has 
much truth, it is also a defense mask- 
ing a deep resentment toward anyone 
who did not serve. This resentment 
wearSi two'' faces. First, he describes a 
sense of injustice that he risked his life 
while others avoided commitment by 
dodging the draft. But more torment- 
ing is the anticipated judgment of 
those who did not fight, a judgment 
he fears will condemn him as foolish 
for going to war, wrong for partic- 
ipating in its acts of barbarism, and 
inadequate for losing it. He feels he is 
on trial, unfairly, for doing a job that 
was once endorsed with enthusiasm. 
He resents these accusations, but he is 
also haunted by them because he be- 
lieves them to be true. 

As a student I had been against the 
war. As a therapist I was shocked to 
find that I could identify with the vet- 
erans' wounded pride: they feel per- 
sonally responsible for the only war 
America has lost. And despite their ef- 
forts to blame politicians, radicals, the 
military's upper echelon, the South 
Vietnamese — any possible group — for 
the loss, the overwhelming response of 
these sons of working-class America is 
guilt for letting their country down. 
They never became the men they hoped 
to be when, as adolescent recruits, they 
believed themselves and America in- 
vincible. Marked as losers, they feel 
constantly challenged to prove their 
manhood. 

Is the profound inadequacy felt by 
these veterans theirs alone, or does it 
reflect a less acute but similar public 
sentiment? Certainly the heroic rescue 
of the Mayaguez that demonstrated our 
virility following our withdrawal from 
the battlefield supports this hypothesis. 



Further evidence is the nation's man- 
ifest desire to forget that the war ever 
took place. News of Southeast Asia is 
seldom reported now. Foreign policy, 
once riveted on Indochina, is no longer 
focused there. Promised aid to North 
Vietnam has not been forthcoming. 
And having survived the war, the vet- 
erans are ignored by society and have 
the benefit of few government pro- 
grams that might ease their adjust- 
ment. 

The veterans' own observations are 
perhaps most telling: 

// we weren't failures, why aren't 
there any monuments? Can you 
name any of the Marines who. in 
another war, would have been he- 
roes? Do you remember any cele- 
brations when we got back? How 
come I feel like I did something 
wrong, like holding up a bank, 
when someone asks about my shrap- 
nel wound? How come I cant tell 
anyone I am proud to have fought 
for my country without wondering 
what they will think of me? 

The veteran is trapped in contradic- 
tory logic: "If I believe in America, 
I must feel guilty for letting it down; 
if I am critical of America, I cannot 
understand why I fought and saw so 
many killed." There are no simple an- 
swers, and none expected. A political 
commitment is no longer at stake, but 
rather an emotional crisis that turns 
upon vain sacrifice and silent recrim- 
ination. 



What was the experience 
that is so difficult for us 
to hear? Typically, after 
entry into the service 
and a short training period, recruits 
embarked for Vietnam. Particularly 
during the early years of the war, re- 
cruits left expecting to contain handily 
a belligerent group of Communists in 
a limited military action following the 
rules of basic training. They expected 
to win. 

Naively unaware of the nature of 
jungle warfare, they arrived in Viet- 
nam ignorant of both the conditions 
and the enemy. They were surprised 
by the unrelieved heat of the dry sea- 
son, draining them of strength and pa- 
tience. The only water on patrol was 
brackish and polluted, giving every- 
one diarrhea that trickled down the 
legs of his fatigues. The monsoon was 



equally relentless. Each step required £ 
concentrated effort to reclaim the boo' 
from sucking mud. The veterans' faces 
contorted, even in therapy, when they 
described how leeches were pulled ofl 
necks and legs, and inspections foi 
'"jungle rot" were conducted to ensure 
that the swelling and disfiguring would 
not disable the foot soldier. 

The \ ietnamese people seem as men- 
acing as the weather to the American 
soldier. The war s rationale was the de- 
fense of the South from the invading 
Vietcong. But most villagers seemed 
indifferent to that ideal, and behaved 
like spectators to the war. As if to 
demonstrate their ringside relationship 
to the American fighting machine, they 
would sell American goods, supposedly 
stolen from the PX, at inflated prices. 
The disarray 7 of the South Vietnamese 
Army in battle proved to the Amer- 
ican soldier the racial inferiority of 
the Asians, and made their disdain of 
American fighting skill all the more 
insulting. 

Racism was compounded by para- 
noia: every Vietnamese began to look 
like a Vietcong. Rumors spread that 
the liquor sold by civilians, often chil- 
dren, contained ground glass or poi- 
son, and that articles were booby- 
trapped. There was no place and no 
time when the soldier did not feel in 
peril. He would return from the ap- 
parent danger of patrol to the nerve- 
wracking threat of pervasive, unseen 
danger. Everything constituted ha- 
rassment. 

The military command responded to 
the dilemma of distinguishing civilians 
from Vietcong by defining the enemy 
as "anyone who runs or shoots." Any 
harm to a civilian would result in 
court-martial. However, snipers and 
Vietcong patrols killed American troops 
and then disappeared into the jungle, 
rice paddies, or villages. There were 
no positions to attack, no strongholds 
to besiege, no victories to claim. In 
typical combat, wandering jungle pa- 
trols would capture nameless hills and 
return to base camp, knowing that al- 
ready the Vietcong occupied the same 
hills and roamed the same jungle. Thus 
orders not to harm civilians only ag- 
gravated the soldier's feelings of help- 
lessness and vulnerability. He was an 
open target, while the Vietcong, hidden 
in the jungle and disguised in the civ- 
ilian population, were further protected 
by the orders not to shoot. In therapy, 



18 



IUSTERINI & BROOKS Founded 1749 



ft; 3 veterans claimed that these orders 
' e crucial to understanding why the 
ca ir was lost. 

ib The gnawing sense of futility as- 
of med extra force when major cam- 
; igns, involving air strikes, sophisti- 
irt ted weaponry, heavy artillery, and 
ild indreds of troops, often yielded only 
few captured suspects and even few- 

Vietcong bodies. Unable to capture 
it -ongholds or to occupy territory, the 
e nerican strategy degenerated to a 
is imbers game. Returning from the 

latively ineffective campaigns, sol- 
! ers would read in the military news- 
iper Stars and Stripes' inflated tallies 
the enemy troops killed. Recall- 
g the experience in group therapy, 
1 laughed as they had done in base 
imp. 

The need to accumulate body counts 
•essured officers to produce dead Viet- 
>ng. This led to the working rule 
' lat a dead Vietnamese was a Viet- 

1 )ng. The paradox for the soldiers 
as clear: civilians were to be pro- 
cted; soldiers would be court-mar- 
aled for harming civilians; once 

| ead, civilians could be counted as 
ietcong — and a dead Vietcong was 
le only spoil rewarded by superiors, 
i this "don't shoot but kill" game, 
jldiers became frustrated and trigger- 
appy. The constant fear of death dev- 
stated morale and responsibility, and 
jnerican brutality flourished. Even a 
elicopter pilot who had avoided the 
ardships of the jungle recalled noth- 
; ag extraordinary in watching suspects 
! ushed hundreds of feet to the ground 
rom his helicopter or women machine- 
unned from the air: he was just do- 
ng his job, increasing the body count. 

The ambivalence of the veterans' re- 
ponse to battle makes their present 
onflicts especially difficult to resolve, 
n the following passage, one Marine 
(escribes this ambivalence, crystallized 
n a few moments of combat: 

W e were back at a fire base when 
I heard a noise and saw someone 
that might have bem a VC. I yelled, 
and when he didn't stop I just 
grabbed my automatic and took 
off after him. I heard the other 
Marines yelling to get down and 
get back and shooting in the air to 
cover me when they saw me keep 
on going. I heard every word each 
one of them said as if it was said 
real clear to me, but I knew I was 
going to get that VC. There was 



Many try; 
but none succeed. 
You just can't copy 
a true original 



Because it's rare* 




86 Proof Blended Scotch Whisky © 1978 Paddington Corp., N.Y. 



19 



oooo 

"IN MY FAMILY I PICK THE CAR 
AND LET MY HUSBAND 
PICK THE COLOR'.' 

HERM1NE FINKENZELLER, AUDI 5000 STRUCTURAL ENGINEER 




Isn't it usually Finkenzeller: Well, I suppose it's a bit 
round? Cr W3V unusual for a woman to be a structural 
engineer. But I am and it happens that 
my husband is not. Actually, he's very good at his job, 
but he's in an entirely different field. Ive been design- 
ing automotive components for 1 5 years. These draw- 
ings of the Audi 5000 are the ones 1 did as a member of 
the engineering team that designed the car. 

Was it hard Finkenzeller: In the very beginning, 
getting started y es . But that was years ago. Today it's 

engrneer? m ° t,Ve easier for a woman to be accepted as 
an engineer. Consider how many 
women chemists and physicists there are now. Things 
have opened up. I'm respected by the people I work 
with for what I can contribute as a structural engineer. 

But don't men Finkenzeller: Why do you assume 
usually know that? Because they played with a little 

Z^wtmen"' 5 fed C3t "' 35 childien ' and g irls P la Y ed 

with dolls? That hardly qualifies a 
man as an automotive authority. In Europe, some men 
seem to know technical terms about cars. But a lot of 
men think in romantic terms about cars. Behind the 
wheel they see themselves as something they re not, 
perhaps race drivers. Women don't seem to have this 
problem. Their attitude toward cars is more rational. 
A car satisfies their needs, not their fantasies. 

How will a Finkenzeller: Good. They will like its 

woman feel about l ay out. It's probably the most intelli- 

the Audi 5000? J , _, . K. r J ■ 

gent 15' i feet of engineering on the 
road today. Women will appreciate that we didn't 

•'Suggested 197S retail price under $9,000 PO.E., transp , local taxes, and dealer delivery cha 



Will men like Finkenzeller 

the Audi 5000? 



devote half the car to the power plant. You can't sit 
people under a hood. My colleagues developed a 5- 
cylinder gasoline engine that has plenty of power, yet 
doesn't take up unnecessary space. So the car seats five 
people very comfortably. It is a big car. As a matter of 
fact, I believe in your country it's the largest German 
luxury car for the money, less than * 9,000. 

MeiY 5 Yes. I think they 
will love its power and handling -and 
a lot of women will, too. The Audi 5000 may be a 
rather elegantly conservative car but it's not sedate. 
It's very fast. With front-wheel drive, it takes corners 
beautifully, especially for such a big, luxurious car. It's 
really a lot of fun to drive. People are surprised to find 
out how responsive the car is. That amuses us. And, of 
course, delights us, too. 

Do you own Finkenzeller: No. Not that I wouldn't 

an Audi 5000? , jkc tQ ^ ^ my famj j y ha$ nQ 

need for a car with all that room. There's only my hus- 
band and our one child. What would we do with all the 
room there is in the Audi 5000? So, instead, we own 
the Audi Fox, I think that's what you call it in 
America. It's smaller. But it's also a very nice car. Do 
you know, I worked on the design of that car, too. 

Are you always Finkenzeller: Sensible? If you mean 
this sensible? logical and precise, I would say yes 
when it comes to doing my work. In my job, I have to 
be very precise. But, if what you really want to know is 
whether I'm ever emotional or even romantic, perhaps 
you should ask my husband about that. 

Kes. additiiin.il ( omc in and test di ive the Audi sllO0.it your heal Porsche + Audi dealer 



-GOOD 



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BABYSITTER NEVER TO TELL A CALLER? 



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parents will be away for a long time. 
And getting the caller's correct 
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too. The phone can do an even 
better job if it's handled with 
care. Which is why ^g00 
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AFTER VIETNAM > ^ 

even enemy fire but I kept my eye [ 
on that guy as he ran through the 
grass. The tall grass swept my face f 
and I could see myself take each 
step through the field and I watched V 
every movement he made, somehow 
even when he disappeared for a 
minute behind a clump of trees. I 
figured I might not catch him so 1 
stopped and opened fire to slow 
him down. I fust squared myself 
and fired. When he went down 1 
ran up to him and he was crawling 
through the grass, I saw his face 
and I felt so sure of myself, I slow- 
ly sliced him in two with the auto- 
matic, right across his middle. Then 
I knelt down and cut off his ear, 
and I was still hearing the other 
fire and yells. I knew I could be 
court-martialed and later I realized 
that it was wrong, that he was a 
person and all that, but at the time 
I uas so proud. I knew what every- 
one in the platoon would think, I 
was so proud I fust swaggered back 
to camp right through all the fire 
and grass, standing up real straight. 

The Marine returns to this reveri' 
periodically in order to relive its ex 
citement. But it cannot be integrate( 
into his civilian life and he is attempt 
ing to tire himself of it as well, so tha 
it can be exorcised. But it cannot b< 
exorcised because what he did in the 
name of his country is no longer sanc- 
tioned. In a guilt-ridden society, no 
one wants to hear about the atrocities 
of a lost war. 

Every era HAS its own vocab- 
ulary. One word common in 
the past decade — and one that 
recurs with great frequency in 
therapy with veterans — is "wasted." All 
the meanings that the war had for the 
veteran, its peak moments and its in- 
tolerable cruelty, became empty in the 
subsequent "peace with honor." We 
have failed to understand the war's 
brutality, to make legitimate the sac- 
rifice of lives, or to acknowledge the 
valor of heroic acts. We have thus 
squandered the idealism and commit- 
ment of these men, proving not only 
that their sacrifices were wrong, but 
also that they were needless and must 
be forgotten. 

How might this country address its 
responsibilities for Vietnam? Political 
leaders and policymakers can offer 
public acknowledgment of their once- 
active support of the war, pointing out 




22 



at they have learned and justifying 
nir current attitudes. Conferences 
ailar to the teach-ins of the '60s can 

organized to review and evaluate 
qerica's participation. The churches 
l direct attention to the moral prob- 
is of the w ar that we have not begun 

resolve. A legal investigation into 
r crimes undoubtedly would expose 
I hidden responsibility of leaders for 
; soldiers' acts of atrocity. Repara- 
ns can be offered to the people of 
etnam. if not to their present gov- 
iment. A more humane s immigra- 
■n policv can benefit the estimated 
0.000 refugees scattered throughout 
utheast Asia as a result of the war. 
lese refugees find themselves literal- 
afloat in the South China Sea, re- 



fused asylum anywhere. And to the 
mass killings and devastation reported 
in Cambodia, there can be a voice of 
protest. We can bear witness to inhu- 
manity rather than ignore it. 

We fail to act because to do so is 
to acknowledge complicity in a war we 
have no wish to remember. The vet- 
eran's obsession is thus particularly 
disturbing, and the community's re- 
sponse predictable. The veteran is sick; 
we are not. We diagnose him as a 
"traumatic neurotic" and proceed to 
''uncover the traumatic event that 
threatened to overwhelm his ego." But 
many veterans can eloquently describe 
the "trauma": their problem is that 
they can find no one who will see val- 
ue in their service and absolve their 



brutality. They cannot understand 
what was right and what was wrong, 
not because they have no moral con- 
victions, but because they cannot be- 
gin to be responsible for their actions 
until the nation recognizes its respon- 
sibility for waging the war through 
them. Their actions cannot be fairly 
judged and reconciled so long as the 
veterans are made the nation's scape- 
goats. Programs intended to aid the 
veterans cannot relieve their despair 
if the guilt, anger, and embarrassment 
buried in our society are not confront- 
ed. If public responsibility is acknowl- 
edged, the veterans' nightmares may 
persist but their alienation and lone- 
liness may be partially relieved. □ 
harper's/july 1978 



II. 

rHE MYTH OF PUBLIC INNOCENCE 

eviewing the record of American consent 



by Harrison Rainie 



rHE AMERICAN consciousness 
has calcified around a myth 
about the Vietnam war that 
has acquired a place in the na- 
anal folklore comparable to George 
asliington's confession about the 
terry tree. From the labyrinths of the 
rilateral Commission to Main Street, 
.e notion has taken hold that we were 
aneuvered into the war by deceitful 
anners who knew their nefarious 
ishes could be executed only through 
hat the New Yorker has called "a 
fcnspiracy." This cabal "seized virtual 
mtrol of the nation's foreign policy 
ad took the country into the war by 
evising and executing elaborate plans 
lat were carefully 7 concealed from the 
ublic. the press, and Congress." 
Richard Nixon helped entrench the 
lyth in his 1968 campaign, and prob- 
bly guaranteed its recital in textbooks 
f the future by trying to suppress 
ublication of the Pentagon Papers, 
he idea became rote when Pulitzer 
'rizes were awarded in journalism to 
ae New York Times for its Pentagon 
'apers stories and to Frances FitzGer- 
ld for her Fire in the Lake. George 
-IcGovern could not get very far with 
t but Jimmy Carter made good pol- 

larrison Rainie, a reporter for the New 
ork Daily News, is working on a book 
bout the press and the Vietnam war. 




itics of it. No one bothered to chal- 
lenge his assertion in the infamous 
Playboy interview that: 

There was a governmental conscious- 
ness to deal in secrecy, to exclude 
the American people, to mislead 
them with false statements and 
sometimes outright lies. Had the 
American people been told the 
facts from the beginning by Eisen- 
hower, Kennedy, McNamara, John- 
son, Kissinger, and Nixon, I think 
there would have been different de- 
cisions made in our government. 

There is an appealing moral and 



tactical formula in this tautology: Tell 
the truth and the w isdom of the Amer- 
ican people will prevail. The entire 
nation may believe that this is the 
prime "lesson of Vietnam," but it is 
simply not the case. An examination 
of major national publications during 
the Johnson years yields a surfeit of 
evidence that we knew what we were 
doing when the war was escalated and 
were well apprised of the consequences. 
In short, although we had political and 
emotional reasons for feigning inno- 
cence, we had no logical reason to cry 
foul several years later and claim that 
all the facts had been withheld by- 
malevolent leaders. Furthermore, there 
is absolutely no indication that the di- 
rection of policy would have been dif- 
ferent had Johnson and Robert Mc- 
Namara "come clean" at every turn 
in the road. 

Any refutation of the myth of the 
American people's innocence has to 
focus on the press coverage of the 
Pentagon Papers, where that myth is 
encoded — specifically the three major 
stories that appeared in the Times in 
mid-June, 1971. They maintained: 1) 
that the Johnson Administration had 
been waging covert war in early 1964 
against North Vietnam while secretly 
planning to obtain the Tonkin Gulf 
resolution; 2) that the Johnson Ad- 



23 



AFTER VIETNAM 



ministration had reached a "general 
consensus" to bomb North Vietnam in 
September, 1964, during the same pe- 
riod when Johnson was contending in 
his Presidential campaign that he did 
not plan to bomb the North; and 3) 
that Johnson secretly decided to have 
American troops move from a defen- 
sive to an offensive posture in April, 
1965 and that the public did not find 
out "until it crept out almost by ac- 
cident in a State Department [press] 
release on June 8." Overall, the reports 
compose an indictment of mendacity 
worthy of the abuse heaped on John- 
son. Factually, however, the indictment 
is incorrect and can be dismantled on 
the evidence of contemporary reports 
in other newspapers, over the wire ser- 
vices, and in the Times itself. 



T.HE PENTAGON PAPERS show 
that Johnson began to plan 
the elements of the covert war 
shortly after he became Pres- 
ident. In January, 1964, he approved 
"destructive undertakings" by the 
South Vietnamese against North Viet- 
nam, intelligence flights that later in- 
cluded American bombing of Commu- 
nist infiltration routes in Laos, and 
DeSoto intelligence patrols by Amer- 
ican ships in the Tonkin Gulf. 

The Times charged in 1971 that the 
impetus for the covert war — the de- 
teriorating situation in South Vietnam 
— "was concealed from Congress and 
the public as much as possible." How- 
ever, columnist James Reston, that re- 
pository of the received wisdom of the 
moment, was apparently not kept in 
the dark and neither were his readers. 
For instance, he asserted in January, 
1964, that the government had been 
trying unsuccessfully to fool the pub- 
lic about the strength of the govern- 
ment in the South and progress in the 
war. He wrote: "The first casualty in 
every war is truth and the war in Viet- 
nam is no exception. Only now is the 
Pentagon confirming the gloomy news- 
paper reports it was denying last au- 
tumn." 

If Reston was greatly concerned 
about the drift of war policies, he did 
not show it. In the Times for February 
26, 1964, he declared: "The United 
States is not ready to accept a Commu- 
nist conquest of South Vietnam and 
[it] is not likely to be avoided the 
way the war is going now. ... It is 



generally assumed [in Washington] 
that any blockade or bombardment of 
North Vietnam would have to be car- 
ried out by the United States' forces." 
And on the Timers editorial page for 
the same date, C. L. Sulzberger started 
beating his own war drums. "It is 
time to proclaim our intention of 
standing by our commitments and to 
destroy foreign bases of insurrection," 
he stated. "We should deliberatelv pul- 
verize both bases and communications, 
thus moving the counter-guerrillas' war 
into the third dimension." The deci- 
sion about whether to bomb North 
Vietnam was not taking place in a vac- 
uum of government secrecy. It was be- 
ing debated on the editorial pages of 
the country's most prestigious news- 
paper months before it was put into 
effect. 

The thought of escalation bothered 
Reston only because he thought Con- 
gress had not become fully involved 
in approving new American initiatives. 
He wrote on March 4: "In all the talk 
about the United States expanding the 
war into North Vietnam, it is odd that 
nobody has even raised the question 
of seeking the approval of the Con- 
gress for such a move. . . . Fortunately 
there is plenty of time now to consider 
the question." Recalling Reston's mor- 
al objections in 1971 to the whole 
bombing campaign, one would expect 
him to have leveled a similarly high- 
minded attack on the contingency 
plans for it in 1964. On the contrary, 
he wrote: "Maybe it will be necessary 
to bomb and blockade North Viet- 
nam." At no point did he suggest that 
the United States withdraw, or even 
scale down the contingency plans. 

The urgency of the planning became 
evident in mid-July when the Associ- 
ated Press carried a story that included 
a full description of the anticipated 
"tit-for-tat" bombing campaign and 
the first real indication that a grad- 
uated bombing strategy was being con- 
sidered. The wire service said: 

The United States may institute a 
"tit-for-tat?' plan of military action 
against Communist North Vietnam 
if at some point Washington feels 
South Vietnam is going down the 
drain. . . . [An~\ extreme approach 
could involve actual bombing of 
factories in North Vietnam, and 
possibly Hanoi. 

Significantly, there was no strong pub- 
lic or press criticism of the plans. 



Lp to this point the covert war h. 
not been fully exposed. But on Ju 
22, two weeks before the Tonkin Gi 
incidents, South \ ietnamese Air Fori 
leader Nguyen Cao Ky described at 
press conference how "combat team: 
had been sent on sabotage missio: 
inside North Vietnam, and how Sou 
\ ietnamese pilots were preparing f< 
possible air attacks. Thus, the natu: 
of the most aggressive part of the c 
vert war had been exposed. It toe 
only days after that to reveal all tl 
elements of the Johnson policies. 
August 3. after the first North Vie 
namese attack on the L .S.S. Maddo 
the Washington Post ran a story d 
scribing an assault by the South Vie 
namese Navy on two islands in tr 
Tonkin Gulf that the North claime 
were part of its territorv. After th' 
second attack on the Maddox and th 
U.S.S. Turner Joy, the Times reporte 
further that American planes had bee 
flying intelligence and bombing mis 
sions against North Vietnam for weeks 
Hence, anyone who wanted to chal 
lenge the American bombing of NortI 
Vietnam had the information necessar 
to argue that the North Vietnamesi 
attack on American ships was proi 
voked. Yet, with the exception of Sen' 
ators Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruen 
ing. no one showed great concern abou 
the covert war and the bombing 
Americans were ready to go to war. 

Probably the most damaging 
news storv to emerge fron 
the Pentagon Papers was th< 
accusation that the Johnson 
Administration had reached a con- 
sensus to bomb North Vietnam at the 
same time that Johnson was campaign 
ing against sending "American boys" 
into an Asian land war. It was no se-j 
cret to any regular reader of the na-j 
tional press that continual bombing 
was considered in mid- 1964 as a posH 
sible American strategy. However, the 
larger question is whether Johnson de-i 
ceived voters by playing down the con- 
tingency plans at the very time they 
were gaining favor in his inner circle. 

While the Pentagon Papers claimed 
that a "general consensus" emerged on 
September 7, 1964, Pentagon docu- 
ments themselves leave this question 
seriously in doubt. In a key summary 
memo on the meeting, Assistant Sec- 
retary of State William Bundy gives 



24 



I indication that a graduated bomb- 
Is ; strategy was even discussed. He 
i scifically states that South Vietnam- 
; "air attacks" against North Viet- 
m "should not be considered." The 
y passage in the memo that the Times 
ed as evidence of the consensus 
ids: "To the extent that the situa- 
>n permits, such action [to bolster 
3 government of South - Vietnam] 
ould precede larger decisions. / / 
ch larger decisions are required at 
y time by a change in the situation, 
ey will be taken" (emphasis added I . 
lere is no evidence that such "larger 
•cisions" were necessary or advisable, 
or is there any documentary evidence 
at "larger decisions" translates into 
>mbing. 

Even if a consensus did exist, its 
lportance was not so great as was 
lagined. On November 1, the Viet- 
»ng attacked Bien Hoa airfield near 
ligon. killing four Americans and 
jstroving several bombers. It was the 
rst major military incident since the 
;onsensus" emerged. Yet even though 
il the planners argued for at least a 
t-for-tat reprisal. Johnson did not 
)llow their advice. He merely created 

study group to review American 
olicies. If he truly believed bombing 
as necessary, this incident provided 
splendid excuse. He could also have 
on political advantage by convincing 
avering Goldwater supporters that 
e, too. could be tough on Communists, 
.eslie Gelb. who supervised the Pen- 
agon Papers project at the Pentagon, 
lso supports this thesis (Life, Sep- 
ember 22, 1971), and argues that 
ohnson was not part of the consensus. 
'Indeed [our studies] depict him as 
juite resistant to this course," he 
vrote. 

Of course, Johnson was eventually 
iwayed by the weight of numbers in 
he bomb-the-Commies lobby, and this 
ivas well documented in late Novem- 
aer. On the same day his study group 
formally proposed a graduated bomb- 
ing campaign, the New York Daily 
News carried a story that predicted: 

Barring a new political crisis [in 
South Vietnam'], the United States 
probably will expand its war role 
in South Vietnam shortly by launch- 
ing air strikes against Vietcong 
supply routes in neighboring south- 
ern Laos and Communist North 
Vietnam. . . . At the top of the new 
ladder the United States is about 



to climb would be att-out strikes 
on North Vietnam. 

Hence, there should have been no sur- 
prise at all the following February, 
when the Rolling Thunder program 
was initiated. The bombing was not 
something Johnson slipped past an un- 
suspecting country with the help of a 
few lies. 



THE pentagon papers are pur- 
ported to show that Johnson 
had concealed the true sig- 
nificance of his decision to 
send ground troops into the war in 
early 1965. In fact, newspapers were 
full of evidence that the war was wid- 
ening, and any reader with a modicum 
of intelligence was hard pressed to 
countenance the semantic tap dance 
Johnson performed to the band music 
that accompanied the troops to Indo- 
china. 

The day after the Pentagon sent 
3,500 Marines into Da Nang to protect 
the air base, the Times said in an ed- 
itorial that it was a step toward "a 
wider war, which ... in the present 
circumstances [is] a one-way street." 
The editorial added that if the "strat- 
egy does not work, the United States 
will face the necessity of escalating 
the war against North Vietnam still 
further. To do anything less would be 
to admit defeat." This is not the kind 
of ringing antiwar polemic that the 
public later came to expect from the 
Times. Nor does it show a pitiful ig- 
norance of the reality of the American 
situation. 

Details of the offensive strategy 
emerged in a spate of stories in the 
Times, the best of which were written 
by military expert Hanson Baldwin. 
Less than three weeks after Johnson 
made his "secret" April 1 decision to 
put the troops on the offensive, Bald- 
win reported the move in great detail 
and concluded: "Eventually, if neces- 
sary, the combat units may go over to 
an active offensive." Less than a month 
later, he described the "inkblot" strat- 
egy that was being employed, and con- 
firmed that it was based "on offensive 
operations by United States troops." 
In a prescient sentence buried far 
along into the story, he said: "It is es- 
timated that a total of 500,000 Amer- 
icans might be needed and years of 
fighting might be required." It had 



taken less than two weeks to expose 
the gist of the order to move on the 
offensive and less than eight weeks to 
go well beyond the April 1 decision 
and describe the military's desire for 
a massive buildup of combat troops. 
Johnson s greatest attempt at deception 
had failed, and — more important — he 
was virtually unchallenged by the press 
over the merits of the step. 

There are three main points 
to be made here. The first is 
that the national press matched 
war planners tit-for-tat as new 
policies were developed. At each stage 
of the planning process reporters and 
commentators spelled out the options 
and consequences at least in enough 
detail for the American people to know 
they were in for a long and costly war. 

This raises the second and most 
troublesome point: The country did 
know the problem and the stakes, and 
a vast majority agreed with the war's 
aims. The bulk of information avail- 
able to the public during the 1960s 
necessarily means that there can be 
no scapegoats. Any explanation of how 7 
we got into Vietnam has to focus as 
much on the temperament of the pub- 
lic and Congress as it does on the war 
planners. 

The third point is that the Pentagon 
Papers were no big deal as news. They 
were interesting because they filled in 
the interstices of the press accounts 
that had preceded them years earlier 
and provided a partial glimpse of pol- 
icymaking. However, they were con- 
sciously written to satisfy the national 
mood and the quest for scapegoats. 
The papers have created an invidious 
myth and leave a residue of ill will 
that permeates the relation of the body 
politic to the government. A tragic 
consequence is our indifference to Viet- 
nam veterans and the rage they feel as 
a result. 

The public did not have to wait until 
1971 to become outraged at the con- 
duct not only of national leaders but 
also of the legislators and newspaper- 
men who supported them. The fact that 
the public did not rise up at times of 
early major escalations is a testament 
to the prowar (or anti-antiwar) sen- 
timent in the co- y. This is the ma- 
jor "lesson" of Vietnam. We did it to 
ourselves. □ 
HARPER'S/JULY 1978 



25 



Original art you can own, 
instead of just visit i 




There's one experience that surpasses seeing 
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significance. 

Perhaps the entire 
work seems to change as 
your mood changes. 

You form a relation- 
ship with the work— almost 

a dialogue — and it alters the way you look at things 



/i i r 



PETER MAX'S original lithograph 
MAN WITH UMBRELLA. Signed 
limited edition of 300. 



ARND MAIBAUMS original etching 
GENESIS. Signed limited edition 



around you. 

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JEAN-PIERRE CASSSIGNEUL S 
original lithograph LE REPOS. 
Signed limited edition of 75. 



S'DRE BRASILIER'S original 
jph PAYS de NEIGE. Signed 
nited edition of 125. 



Original print collectors group, Ltd. 

120 East 56th Stteet, Dept. HR-6 , New York, NY. 10022 \J 

D Please send me your free color brochure. 

your latest newsletter, and membership information. 

©1978 Original print collectors group. Ltd 



Zip 



Harper's 



POLITICS 
IN THE WOODS 



wilderness as refuge for ideologies and lobbyists by Gene Lyons 



m nowhere live as yet a natural life. . . . 
e poets even have not described it. Mans 
e must be of equal simplicity and sincer- 
■ with nature, and his actions harmonize 
th her grandeur and beauty. 

— Henry David Thoreau 

the beginning, all the world was America. 

— John Locke 



-^he word "natural" is on the way to 
becoming the cant term of the decade, 
replacing "human" as an all-purpose 
L modifier testifying to the moral seri- 
ess of whoever utters it. Now urban as 
r before (75 percent of us now live in 
s, as opposed to 56 percent in 1940 ) , the 
:ed States is in the midst of a prolonged 
?covery of things rustic. Country music, 
' heard only in the boondocks — mostly the 
thern boondocks at that — is now broadcast 
onwide. Long-abandoned sectors of New 
land, Appalachia, and the Ozarks have 
led population for the first time since the 
1 War. Land that once broke the backs of 
lers foolish enough to try to make it pro- 
tive now enriches real estate speculators 
ing what remains of Eden. 
Vhen it comes to being natural, however, 
place compares with California. Nature, in 
form of Sierra Club pantheism, was prac- 
illy invented in the San Francisco Bay area. 



Tranquilized wilderness — nicely purged of 
scorpions, ticks, poisonous reptiles, and lethal 
microorganisms, thank you — has become the 
biggest theme park of them all. The theme is 
not the National Innocence anymore, as per- 
haps it was under Theodore Roosevelt, so 
much as the prelapsarian self. If nature is be- 
nign, then by contemplating and merging 
oneself with it one can rediscover one's own 
primal integrity. Rather than cathedrals and 
monuments, we should be about the building 
of campsites. 

Of course pastoralism is nothing new to 
Americans, and sentimentality is nothing new 
to pastoralism. Nor do I wish in my skepticism 
to be interpreted as calling for the clear-cut- 
ting of redwoods and the extermination of 
whales, harbor seals, and the Tule elk. But 
concurrent with the growth and dissemination 
of West Coast Transcendentalism is a parallel 
and directly related boom in the manufacture 
and sale of backpacks, tents, pickup trucks, 
four-wheel-drive units, all-terrain vehicles, and 
vans. Also, and here comes the insidious ser- 
pent, in outboard motors, fishing equipment 
and licenses, hunting permits, bows, arrows, 
guns, and ammunition. According to the Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 25.2 million hunting 
permits were sold by the various states in 
1976, an increase of 6.5 million over 1964. r , . ., 

' ill j Gene Lyons contribute 

The bosky dells grow crowded these days, regularly to a numbe 
often by persons with different definitions of of magazines. 



27 



Gene Lyons 
POLITICS 
IN THE 
WOODS 



truth and beauty. The man who by meditat- 
ing seeks Wholeness in the woods ill accords 
with the gun-bearer hoping to kill for meat. 
Hence conflict. To a large and apparently 
growing number of Americans, sport hunt- 
ing appears as an unnatural, even a barbaric 
act. But more of their countrymen are hunting 
— or buying permits anyway, which may not 
be exactly the same thing — and since they are 
living closer together than ever before, these 
members of rival tribes tend to want to use 
the same land for their various purposes. 
Things being as they are, that land is often 
government land. The dilemma presented by 
the deer herd at California s Point Reyes Na- 
tional Seashore, then, raises questions that no 
doubt will become more familiar in time. It 
is probably fitting that the argument should 
be joined in Marin County, that peculiarly 
blessed community just north of the Golden 
Gate Bridge that, were such statistics main- 
tained, would no doubt lead the nation in 
such categories as per capita ownership of bi- 
cycles, Cuisinarts, and foreign cars, and be 
near the top of joints smoked, vegetarian spas, 
and number of marriage counselors, sex ther- 
apists, joggers, and astrologists. As Marin 
goes, cultural historians of the next century 
are likely to say, so go the suburbs. 



Antecedents exist. What drew my 
attention to Point Reyes was a con- 
flict over deer hunting on a federal 
wildlife refuge in — of all places — 
Vu Jersey in 1974. There, officials of the 
Fish and Wildlife Service had proposed 
a public "'lottery hunt" as a means of control- 
ling a deer overpopulation problem in the 
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in 
Morris County, about twenty-five miles west 
of Manhattan. The refuge itself comprises 
6,000 acres of marshes and wooded islands 
and exists because the New York-New Jersey 
Port Authority considered locating an airport 
there in the late 1950s, rapidly converting lo- 
cal commuters and real estate developers in- 
to what are now called environmentalists. 

As hunting was made illegal and all pred- 
ators save the suburban dog disappeared, the 
native Virginia whitetail deer began to mul- 
tiply. From 120 animals in 1964-65. the 
population had grown to approximately 360 
by 1970—71 when the hunt was first proposed. 
By 1973. the hunt having been delayed in the 
courts, the refuge management estimated 590 
deer. Studies had determined the carrying 
capacity of the range I the number of healthy 
animals it could support through a winter 
without starvation l to be roughly 250. Death 



by starvation was not only predicted, 
documented. In March, 1974, a rese. 
from the University of Connecticut cani 
on two young bucks weighing forty-tw 
fifty-eight pounds respectively and too w 
walk i normal weight for animals thei 
would have been at least 100 pound 
spite of hand-feeding they died soon afl 
search later that vear estimated that at 
twenty-four animals had died of stan 
in the preceding six months. 

Nor were the survivors faring much 1 
Numerous animals suffered virus-induce 
mors as a direct result of overcrowding 
competition for food. One doe was founc 
a grapefruit-sized fibroma on her head 
effectively blinded her on one side: anc 
upon being rescued from a dog pack 
found to have between her legs more tha 
teen pounds of tumors, which had prev 
flight. Nutritional dwarfism, tapeworms 
worms, and hookworm-induced perit 
were common among animals examined 
state pathologist after a hunt was finally 

The initial lawsuit aimed at preventing 
hunt was brought by an organization 
the Humane Society of the United States 
quartered in \^ ashington. I Not to be conf 
with the older American Humane Associa 
located in Denver, which is the one that 
tains dog and cat shelters all over 
try. i Later the effort was joined by the Fri 
of Animals, a New York-based group 
president is author Cleveland Amory I 
whom more later I. by the Fund for Anin 
housed in Washington, and by an ad hoc 
cal group that took the acronym DEER 
Deer, Ecology. Environment and Resoui 
Inc. ) . Given the evidence in the Great Swj 
case, I think one is justified in turning aro 
a question often directed at hunters by t 
philosophical opponents: How, professing 
love wild animals as they do, can so m 
well-intentioned persons have persisted in 
hurtful and grotesque a position for so li 
and with such passion? Before attempting 
answer. I undertook a trip to marvelous Ma 
w here a similar conflict w as being enacted 



A vision of parad 

THE POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASH< 
was dedicated in September, 1966, 
ter a sustained period of lobbying 
propagandizing by local environn 
talists. Just thirty miles north and west of ! 
Francisco and separated from the more p 
ulous towns of Marin County by the coa 
mountains, the National Seashore pres< 



28 



)n of paradise as the contemporary pas- 
magination frames it. Geologically older 
:he adjacent mainland, hounded on the 
>y the San Andreas fault and Tomales 
the park contains roughly 64,000 acres 
ff-girted ocean beaches, fir- and pine- 
id mountains, rolling pasture and brush- 
and pristine freshwater lakes. Native 
:ail deer, bobcat, fox, badger, skunk, 
r, and even mountain lions exist there 
rying numbers, as do some 330 species 
ds, among them numerous sorts of duck, 
pelican, heron, falcon, several species 
wk, and some eagles. Sea otter, seals, 
ea lions flourish along the coast; fresh 
altwater fish and shellfish abound. In No- 
J er and December great herds of Califor- 
ray whales pass just offshore on their 
south to Mexican mating grounds. Even 
substantial part of the park supports 
farming and cattle ranching under agree- 
5 negotiated with the former owners, at 
some of whose families have ranched 
since California was a part of Mexico. 
. Reyes is administered by the National 
Service, which is in turn advised on pol- 
latters by a panel appointed by the Sec- 
y of the Interior to oversee a number of 
ands making up what is known as the 
sn Gate National Recreation Area, or 
RA. A traveler would have no difficulty 
aving San Francisco and journeying to 
mtermost tip of Point Reyes itself with- 
sver leaving government land. The Na- 



tional Seashore receives 1.1 to 1.4 million 
visitors annually, most of them on weekends 
during the dry months of April through Oc- 
tober, as the weather during the winter is of- 
ten cold, windy, wet, and foggy, particularly 
along the Pacific. The surf off Point Reyes is 
as rough as any in the world, and swimming 
would be impossible, were it not forbidden. 

On the Seashore's southern boundary, and 
some would say on the cutting edge of West 
Coast Transcendentalism as well, lies the ham- 
let of Bolinas. The prevailing ethos of the 
hamlet has been set forth in Ernest Callen- 
bach's Ecotopia, a silly but revealing cult nov- 
el about the 1980 secession, nongrowth, and 
undevelopment of a nation of the same name 
that includes Northern California, Oregon, 
and Washington. In Ecotopia, it seems, dope 
will be legal but automobiles will not, and 
everybody will have plenty of time to get 
mellowed out. Most people in Bolinas today 
think they would like that — the majority of 
the town's streets are left unpaved, marred by 
ruts and mudholes in the interest of discour- 
aging speed and outsiders — but they would 
have trouble with the prohibition of automo- 
biles. Judging from the number and variety 
of motorized vehicles parked around houses 
there, they are at least as addicted to the open 
road as their fellow Californians. What would 
be more familiar, perhaps, would be the con- 
versation. Ecotopia s heroine talks like this: 
" 'The forest is my home,' she said quietly. 
T feel best when I'm among trees. Open coun- 



'How, profess- 
ing to love 
wild animals 
as they do, can 
so many well- 
intentioned 
persons have 
persisted in so 
hurtful and 
grotesque a 
position for so 
long and with 
such passion?" 





29 



Gene Lyons 
POLITICS 
IN THE 
WOODS 



try always seems alien to me. Our chimp an- 
cestors had the right idea. Among trees you're 
safe, you can be free.' " Even the reviewer 
for Outside, the new magazine begun last 
year by the publishers of Rolling Stone and 
deriving at least some of its editorial impetus 
from the attitudes unintentionally parodied 
above, noticed that the population of Ecotopia 
was, shall we say, somewhat exclusive. 

The blacks have conveniently seceded to 
their own private Soul Cities [where they 
are permitted, in an incidental flash of re- 
alism, to keep their cars] ; the Chinese are 
ensconced in a Chinatown "city-state' . . . 
there are, miraculously, no Chicanos, no 
Okies, no rednecks, no suburbanites, truck 
drivers, low riders, Piute deer poachers, 
gangsters, executives or corrupt politicians 
— all executed or re-educated, one presumes. 

"It's enough," the reviewer concludes, "to 
make you go out and dynamite pupfish, or 
have a whale-meat barbecue over a 2,000- 
year-old bristlecone fire." 

Any discomfort one might feel, moreover, 
about describing Bolinas as if it were a vision 
out of a bad novel is dispelled by a consider- 
ation of the town's history since it became 
neighbor to the National Seashore. After a 
nearly disastrous oil spill in 1970 drew their 
collective attention to the precariousness of 
their mock isolation from the trials of the 
modern world, Bolinas residents were shocked 
to find that the state department of health 
was annoyed at their pumping raw sewage 
from their village directly into an adjacent 
shallow tidal lagoon that separated them from 
Stinson Beach. Many became exercised when 
the local Public Utilities District, in Califor- 
nia an elective body, proposed an $8 million 
sewer project that would have joined Bolinas 
with Stinson Beach and increased the like- 
lihood of real estate development. As with the 
Great Swamp airport in New Jersey, the re- 
sult was instant environmentalists. Persons 
previously content to foul their own lagoon 
became incensed with the idea of releasing 
treated (and chlorinated) sewage into the 
ocean. A voter revolt ensued, anti-sewer forces 
seized control of the Bolinas Public Utilities 
District. Readers who wish to read the whole 
story in somewhat gushy detail are directed 
to Orville Schell's panegyric on the subject, 
entitled The Town That Fought to Save Itself. 
In the book Schell uses the pseudonym of 
Brione- for Bolinas. partly because, he says, 
the residents have grown so leery of media 
publicity that "we cannot think of anyone who 
lives here who would be desirous of boosting 
our town into celebritv status." What he does 



not say, of course, is that he may also b« 
ing in self-defense. One local writer who 
posed for the San Rafael Independent-Jo, y 
a favorable article on Bolinas as a pie. s 1 
place to settle had his house and car vj 
ized, suffered threatening phone calls, anci 
driven out of town for his troubles. 

Having defeated the sewer proposal 
substituted a much smaller system on 
property, the BPUD discovered the w T or 
of small-scale totalitarianism. California g 
sweeping powers to its public utilities 
sions, in essence granting them power 
all aspects of local government except 
police department and the schools. In 
the town passed a resolution declaring 
moratorium on providing its service of 
to a new 7 construction requiring same." 
feet, zero growth. To this date the BPUD 
managed to withstand legal challenges t( 
authority to mandate such a policy, altho 
a lawsuit filed by a group that calls itself 
Bolinas Property Owners Association, 
posed mainly of both the disgruntled mi 
ity and of persons who own land in the 
upon which they cannot build, is at the 
ment winding its way through the fed 
court system. 



ONTEMPORARY PASTORALISM, 

course, makes no sense without 



c 

antithesis. The sort of "self-sufficie 
^ rural life idealized by latter-day bo 
ers of mellow "community" like Schell 
nothing in common with the sort of agrari 
ism that peasants all over the world are 
jecting almost as fast as they can get on bul 
for Mexico City or Jakarta: rather it is a pr 
uct of postindustrial tribalism made possi 
by the great wealth of the cities. Despite idfj 
ogy, a town like Bolinas is no more rural, 
ciologically speaking, and much less self-st 
cient than is The Bronx. 

To most residents of Bolinas, it seems, S 
Francisco is The Beast, representing Pow 
Complexity, and Compulsion as against 1 
Freedom, Simplicity, and Laid-Back qualit 
of home. "Over the hill" ( i.e., Marin Com 
suburbs like San Rafael and Larkspur), a 
if anything, worse. Bolinas so hates touri 
that the Park Service and the Califor: 
Highway Department have all but given 
attempting to place signs indicating the whe 
abouts of either the town or the southern 
trance to the National Seashore. They are 
stroyed as fast as they can be put up. Not o: 
has the tow T n resisted improving the narr 
two-lane road leading into the park (and g 
ing access to about half its acreage), bul 



30 



las erected a "Road Ends, No Outlet" sign at 
he last paved intersection before that road 
vinds its way, several miles further on, into 
he National Seashore. Schell says that 40 per- 
:ent of those surveyed would forbid strangers 
Torn entering Bolinas by car: attempts have 
jeen made to blockade the only road. Park 
■angers and residents of nearby towns like 
mrerness and Olema speak sardonically of not 
laving a passport to enter Bolinas. Others say 
hey would be more than happy never to set 
foot or wheel in the village again — so long as 
the residents were consistent and agreed never 
to come out. 

If the city and its more ordinary suburbs 
are The Machine, then Bolinas is The Garden: 
a kind of Walden Pond West. The town mot- 
to, one resident says, should be "Don't bum 
my trip." Almost anything goes, so long as it 
I not "straight." Okay are denim, fur. nudity, 
marijuana, hashish, and cocaine. Not a small 
proportion of the community does a little deal- 
ing on the side; some do more than a lit- 
tle; the "Bolinas Border Patrol." listed in the 
yellow pages, is a vigilante group organized 
to protect residents' homegrown marijuana 



Point Reye 




plants from marauding adolescents in the crit- 
ical days before the harvest. Also okay are 
electric guitars, amps, stereo systems, chain- 
saws, boats, motorized garden tillers, one's 
own household appliances, and cars, trucks, or 
motorcycles. Not okay are other people's boats, 
household appliances, cars, trucks, motorcy- 
cles, and other products of the machine age. 
Also not okay is any evidence of industrial- 
ism more obtrusive than the town gas station 
and the power lines bringing electricity into 
one's own home. Bolinas is the refuge of the 
contemplative self: factories, time clocks, pow- 
er-generating plants, and oil refineries are for 
the despised and ignorant peasants in loca- 
tions like Oakland and Daly City. Astonish- 
ingly, most locals would describe themselves 
as political progressives. 

Quite ironically, as any real estate broker 
in Scarsdale, Grosse Pointe, or Santa Barbara 
could have told them to begin with, one effect 
of Bolinas' having raised the drawbridge 
against tasteless outsiders has been a rapid 
inflation of property values. Property values 
in the town have doubled and in some cases 
tripled in the past five years. Who, after all, 
would not like to live in a scenic oceanside 
community within an hour's drive of San 
Francisco and protected from tacky overde- 
velopment by hundreds of thousands of acres 
of state and federal parkland all around? 
Soon the only people who will be able to buy 
in will be rock stars, slumming movie actors, 
and renegade holders of trusts. The already 
tenuous fiction of the village as a gentle, 
agrarian refuge for souls too sensitive for the 
rough-and-tumble of the American market- 
place will become yet more absurd, and then 
impoverished cranks who slouch along Main 
Street will be forced either back into the city 
or into similar Freak Refuges elsewhere on 
the fringes of the metropolis. 



Mill Valley 



djinas •) < =^ 




Stinson Beach 



'If the city and 
its more or- 
dinary suburbs 
are The Ma- 
chine, then 
Bolinas is The 
Garden: a kind 
of Walden 
Pond West." 



/FRANCISCO 



31 



Gene Lyons 
POLITICS 
IN THE 
WOODS 



Nature knows no steady states 



W 



HAT HAS ALL THIS got to do with 
the question of hunting wild an- 
imals for sport and with the Point 
Reyes National Seashore? A 
great deal more, as it turns out, than it should. 
Once seen as an agency of salvation by most 
area residents, to quite a few the park has 
come to represent a threat. With parks come 
visitors; with visitors come motels, restaurants, 
gift shops, and, it was widely feared two years 
ago, guns. Even the relatively less righteous 
communities of Inverness and Point Reyes 
Station, which border upon the park further 
north, have feared uncontrolled development 
and made some shift to prevent it, so far with 
considerable success. In the Bolinas Hearsay, 
of course, a kind of mimeographed bulletin- 
board newspaper distributed around town 
twice a week, the issues are starker. Congrat- 
ulating Rep. John L. Burton, the district's 
Congressman, for having got through a bill 
preventing the logging of some nearby red- 
woods, the paper went on to comment that 
"maybe now he is ready to have his conscious- 
ness raised about TRIBAL & LOCAL control 
and a new concept in PARKS and the end of 
federal DICTATORSHIP." The parks, in 
short, should belong not to the taxpayers who 
bought and maintain them but to the people 
who live near them. 

Fortunately, Point Reyes's deer problem is 
not yet so clear-cut as was that of the Great 
Swamp, although there is reason to believe 
that eventually it will grow worse. Left alone, 
nature would have produced a solution in the 
Great Swamp: starvation on a large scale, 
epidemic, and a mass die-off that would have 
reduced the herd to a size closer to what the 
range could maintain. Unlike some predators 
— wolves, for example — the Virginia whitetail 
deer does not stop or even slow down repro- 
duction in reaction to food shortages. In a 
relatively mild, wet climate like New Jersey's, 
plant life damaged by overgrazing would have 
recovered on its own fairly soon, and so long 
as local residents were willing to tolerate 
cyclic invasions of their gardens and orna- 
mental shiubs. the overpopulation-starvation 
pattern might have continued indefinitely. 

In Point Reyes the situation differs in sev- 
eral particulars. To begin with, the deer are 
not native to California, but exotics: European 
fallow deer (Dama dama), such as populate 
tl ■ game parks of the Continent and Great 
Britain, and the Asian axis deer (Axis axis) 
native to India and Ceylon. Several pairs of 
both species were released by a local phy- 



sician, with the permission of ranchers anc 
landowners, in 1947, and kept under control, 
once it became clear that small herds hadj 
been established, by hunting. '"Back when 
was a kid," a member of the Tomales Ba 
Sportsmen's Association in his early thirtiesj 
told me, "it was like a hunter's paradise out; 
there. Fishing, clamming, three kinds of deer, 
cottontails, jackrabbits, duck, quail. The 
fallow deer were the hardest of all; they 
were smarter than the blacktails. harder to 
find." 

One reason fallow deer are easier to find 
these days is that there are a lot more of them. 
Hunting was effectively stopped in the park 
by 1970. By the time park resource manager 
John Alio drew up his first assessment plan 
1975, he estimated that there were as many 
as 490 of each species on the pastoral lands 
of the Seashore, and that given their rate of 
reproduction and the fact that they compete 
directly for food with cattle and sheep, they 
w r ere about to become a problem. Both spe- 
cies, left unmolested and with little or no ef- 
fective pressure from predators, could be ex- 
pected, Aho found, to double their numbers 
every two-and-a-half years. Like many exotics 
the axis and fallow deer do very well in their 
new habitat, where the grasses they eat are 
quite plentiful, predators very few, and dis 
ease almost unknown. Unlike all native North 
American deer, which are browsers — feeding 
primarily on shrubs, bushes, and small trees 
along forest borders and in clearings I one rea- 
son, contrary to popular opinion, why there 
are millions more of them now than there were 
when white men first arrived on this conti- 
nent I — both the axis and the fallow deer are 
grazers. Except during the dry months of late 
summer when browse i* reduced here and the 
native deer also graze for a time, the exotics 
do not compete with them for food. But the 
exotics do compete directly for food with 
sheep and cattle. For every two axis or fal- 
low deer grazing on their land, ranchers lose 
one cow or two sheep that they might other- 
wise pasture. If nothing were done for ten 
years, though, the 500 deer would metamor- 
phose into 8,000 and the ranchers would be 
out of business. Unimaginable as it may seem 
— and these are my projections, not Aho's — 
500 fallow deer doubling themselves every 
two-and-a-half years would become, by 1995, 
128.000 fallow deer, or roughly two for every 
acre of the Seashore. Added to the two axis 
deer who might also be expected to be on 
hand, not to mention the natives, Point Reyes 
would have a deer problem even more serious 
than that of the Great Swamp. 

The projection is absurd, but sentimental 



32 



Gene Lyons 
"POLITICS 
IN THE 
WOODS 



objections to the killing of wild animals be- 
ing what they are — especially when those an- 
imals are magnificent brown-and-white-spotted 
(axis) or pure white (fallow ) Bambi-like crea- 
tures, many with stately antlers — sometimes 
one needs to flirt with nonsense in order to 
make a point. Matters in the Great Swamp 
grew very sad, and still many hunters were 
not convinced. 



The exotic deer are picturesque, and 
since they are not nocturnal like the 
native deer, but graze in the open 
where many visitors can see them, the 
Park Service believes they add a dimension 
to the visitors' experiences. Then, too, a na- 
tional seashore is not, by statute, the same as 
a national park or wilderness. Human recrea- 
tion is held to be one of Point Reyes's most 
important functions: removing all the deer — 
providing they can be controlled instead — 
would seem an excess of primitivist zeal. In- 
deed, some question the Park Service's plan 
to reintroduce the Tule elk to a fenced-off 
area at the end of the peninsula on the same 
grounds. Why, after all, introduce another 
species of large herbivore to an already over- 
crowded range? But the Tule elk is an endan- 
gered species: new habitat betters its chances 
of survival. And the exotics have not yet oc- 
cupied the region where the elk are to be 
placed. 

Some would argue that nature's mythical 
"balance" be restored by reintroducing pred- 
ators, but that is impossible. The indigenous 
mountain lions are highly territorial; regard- 
less of how bountiful the food supply. Point 
Reyes already has as many as will tolerate 
each other's presence. Wolves need far more 
room to wander and are incompatible with 
agriculture and the keeping of domestic an- 
imals: while wolves will not attack humans 
tliey will run twenty yards to pull down a fat 
calf before they will run twenty miles to bring 
an elk or stag to bay. Bears are mostly her- 
bivores and carrion seekers. Once man ""un- 
balances" a wilderness it cannot be restored 
by fiat, only by near desertion and the pas- 
sage of a great deal of time. Nature knows no 
steady states. 

The Point Reyes National Seashore is in 
many ways as artificial a creation as New 
York's Central Park, and from an ecological 
point of view, infinitely more complex. The 
bureaucracy that would manage it according 
to human tastes is necessarily large. If three 
species of deer and one of elk are to thrive, if 
salmon are to return, if the mountain beaver 
is to increase, if the Bishop pine is to be pre- 



served from gall rust, redwoods grow, thi 
Douglas fir do well, and the pastoral zone no 
grow up in almost impassable coyote brush; i 
human visitors are not to start fires, litter, fal 
off cliffs, and maroon themselves at high tide 
on remote beaches, the Park Service has to take 
care of business. Doing that requires federa 
dollars, which in turn require good public re 
lations. Like all bureaucracies, therefore, the 
Park Service is habitually timid. Given essen 
tially the same list of options available to the 
Fish and Wildlife Service in the Great Swamp 
case, the Park Service fudged it. After going 
through the motions of holding public hear- 
ings — hearings at which local sportsmen' 
groups supported a lottery hunting plan sim- 
ilar to the one proposed in New Jersey — the 
Park Service decided to do the job themselves. 
Rather than conduct a public hunt or issue 
rancher depredation permits, an option that 
was also considered, the bureaucracy discov- 
ered the perfect contemporary solution: let 
the government do the job. The rangers were 
told to kill the deer themselves. 

When I first asked him about it, John Aho 
was understandably defensive. Although he 
has not hunted for sport in fifteen years, in 
the past two he has shot and butchered some- 
where between 200 and 225 deer, often pur- 
suing them by jeep. Already disdained as 
"tree pigs," Aho and his fellow rangers must 
now bear the additional stigma of assassinat- 
ing Bambi. "\ ou wouldn't believe it," he says, 
"but you get inured to it — the gore, the an- 
imals dying. It's like working in a slaughter- 
house. Because that's all it is, slaughter. None 
of us enjoys it, and there are some who just 
can't bring themselves to go out with us. I 
try to spare them, find them something else 
to do." Asked if he would prefer a public or 
lottery- hunt, Aho is the good soldier, 
support what the park supports," he says. 
But as he was given no extra money in the 
budget to support the deer depredation pro- 
gram and has to allocate time for it among 
innumerable other duties, he is not reticent 
in saying that it is less than a success. The 
axis deer, which run in large herds and can 
be chased by jeep into the back of a canyon 
where there is a road they are afraid to cross, 
have been brought more or less under con- 
trol. They turn and stampede back into the 
guns. The others are less easily hunted. "The 
fallow deer are completely beyond our con- 
trol now. I would estimate that there are now 
1,200 or more within the park boundaries 
alone. Geographically and in numbers they 
are far beyond our capacity to manage them." 
Aho says he does not know what will happen 
or how far the animals are likely to spread. 



34 



HILE one cannot get anybody 
in an official position to confirm 
t in so many words, it is never- 
theless clear that the decision to 
■r the park, rangers to thin the exotic deer 
I — the first operation of its kind and scale 
Park Service has ever undertaken — was 
e primarily in the interest of avoiding 
publicity. "Social controversy," after all, 
ne of those factors Park Service officials 
instructed to assess in making their plans, 
n, too, organized groups of sportsmen like 
ones who expressed an interest — the Marin 
I and Gun Club, the Tomales Bay Sports- 
1*5 Association, the State Archers Asso- 
ion — are for the most part conservative 
law-abiding. No doubt it was feared that 
ly antihunting individuals and groups — 
ing as they do a higher cause — would not 
o tractable. Then, too. given the local sen- 
?nt. both organized and disorganized fool- 
less could have resulted if a lottery hunt 
been attempted. From the point of view 
avoiding difficulty the right decision was 
doubt made. 

hit should avoiding difficulty, in this in- 
lce. have been paramount? From the Cal- 
nia Department of Fish and Game's posi- 
i. evidently so. A spokesman in Sacramento 
linded me that the Bay Area has probably 

greatest concentration of antihunting ac- 
sts in the state, persons who oppose any 
sumptive use of wildlife at all, and that 
ny well-intentioned city dwellers cannot be 

bevond a kind of instinctive sentimental 
ction against guns and killing long enough 
be reasoned with. "We try not to raise a 

flag." he said, explaining why his agency 

not press the issue with federal author- 
s, adding that as hunters comprise a gen- 
Uy misunderstood minority, there is some 
r of a referendum making its way to a gen- 
1 election ballot that would ban hunting 
Dgether. 

Considerations of class no doubt play a 
rt, too, although perhaps to a lesser extent 
prosperous, tribalized northern California 
in in other regions of the country. I once 
ended an emotional town meeting in west- 
1 New England, where a combination of 
idemics connected with the local university 
d property owners from Boston and Hart- 
d tried to pass an ordinance that would 
ve forbidden the generally less well-off na- 
es from continuing to pursue deer, grouse, 
d snowshoe hare, as they had done all their 
es. Revolutions, I came away convinced, 
gin from the same passions. Pat Norris. a 
whunting enthusiast who wrote letters and 
peared at a public meeting in favor of the 



lottery hunt at the Point Reyes National Sea- 
shore, saw it that way: "The whole thing was 
an absolutely perfect example of bureaucrats 
trying to run the park system and not having 
the authority or the guts. Who is on that com- 
mission anyway? Old-time politicos and land- 
owners. They represent just one class of peo- 
ple. You can look at them walking in in their 
$300 suits and know you've wasted your time 
coming." 

The politics of nature in California has 
grown so sophisticated, though, that a single 
earnest individual representing himself is 
wasting his time if he expects a potentially 
controversial issue to be decided openly and 
upon its evident merits. The Bay Area chap- 
ter of the Sierra Club, for example, a power- 
ful and well-organized lobbying group, is for 
the most part antihunting in sentiment, even 
though the national organization I which has 
waged fierce internecine struggles over the is- 
sue in the past ) maintains a different position. 
Like the National Wildlife Federation, the 
Audubon Society, the Izaak Walton League, 
and other broad-based conservation organiza- 
tions, the Sierra Club believes that sport hunt- 
ing is a necessary and efficient form of wild- 
life management in what it calls "degraded 
ecosystems," which are defined as places in 
which human activity has had a significant im- 
pact. In the matter of the Point Reyes exotics 
the chapter was opposed to a public hunt on 
the grounds of safety, the fear that other spe- 
cies might be taken either inadvertently or 
deliberately, and a concern over precedent: 
that holding a necessary hunt would put the 
Park Service in the position of the woman 
who, having agreed to whore for a million 
dollars, has lost her ethical leverage when 
confronted with a smaller offer. So the Park 
Service, the chapter feared, might be pres- 
sured to allow the hunting of ducks, quail, 
and other game. The concern with purity, one 
suspects, reveals the true intent. 

A natural complicity 

EVER SINCE TAKING UP the sport of 
hunting I have been bewildered by the 
almost theological zeal of persons who 
object to it on principle. It is no use 
to argue, in the instance of Point Reyes, that 
a public hunt of the sort proposed would en- 
danger participants and others less than the 
automobile travel required to attend; that the 
Park Service has, after all, been conducting 
hunts in such areas as the Kaibab National 
Forest and Yellowstone and Grand Teton na- 
tional parks for more than fifty years; or that, 



"Once man 
'unbalances' 
a wilderness it 
cannot be re- 
stored by fiat, 
only by near 
desertion and 
the passage of 
a great deal 
of time." 



35 



Gene Lyons 
POLITICS 
IN THE 
WOODS 



if the job could be done safely on a little 
more than 6,000 acres of New Jersey swamp 
ringed by suburban development, then prob- 
ably a way could have been found at Point 
Reyes's 64,000 acres. 

One chooses to argue the issue using ex- 
amples like the Great Swamp or Point Reyes 
deer herds largely in the hope of reaching 
persons who may themselves have no interest 
in pursuing game, but who are amenable to 
reason. Admittedly these are special cases, but 
they demonstrate what can happen in a wild- 
life habitat — what, in fact, would happen in 
most North American habitats — if hunting 
were banned. Most sportsmen, myself in- 
cluded, prefer not to hunt at all under such 
strictly supervised conditions as would apply 
in the Point Reyes National Seashore. One 
member of the Tomales Bay Sportsmen's As- 
sociation who had hunted the area in his 
youth said he would not take part until the 
herd had been thinned and the animals made 
naturally wary again by the hunt. Shooting 
a fallow deer now, he thought, would be too 
much like shooting a cow. A roomful of his 
companions nodded. Some voluntereed, in 
fact, that they might submit their names to 
a lottery at least partly out of a sense of pub- 
lic duty. Others said flatly that they could use 
the meat; for sport they would prefer to drive 
north. 

Such sentiments are not credited by the op- 
position, for reasons that I did not fully un- 
derstand until I had been in Bolinas for a few 
days and had spoken to a woman very active 
in local affairs who conceded that the park 
rangers were not fascists, that the deer herd 
did need to be culled, but that it was, in her 
opinion, "psychologically cleaner not to have 
people out there having fun shooting deer." 
That, at last, is the answer to the rhetorical 
question I posed earlier about the antihunters 
who loved the deer there unto death by starva- 
tion: it is a matter not so much of loving 
animals more as of respecting one's fellows 
less. The literature of the antihunting move- 
ment is replete with the attribution to hunters 
of base and inhumane motives. Cleveland 
Amory, for example, in a TV Guide column, 
called with tight-lipped humor for a "Hunt the 
Hunters Hunt Club": Friends of Animals, the 
organization of which he is president, speaks 
in policy statements of the "kill-for-kicks boys" 
and holds that the "destroyers of . . . life must, 
in turn, be destroyed — preferably by due legal 
process." 

Amory is the Susan Brownmiller — one is 
tempted to say the Anita Bryant — of the anti- 
hunting movement. His tract on the subject, 
Man Kind?, .not only is laden with class and 



regional bigotry — all Southerners, for exa 
pie, are depicted as monosyllabic drawli 
sadists — but fails to make even a passing m 
tion of the sport's more articulate defende 
preferring to prove again and again that ma 
drugstore-rack outdoor magazines and mi 
small-town newspaper hunting and fishing 
umns are written and edited by persons whe 
primary talents are not, perhaps, literary. T 
result, not surprisingly, is much the same 
if one were to characterize the romantic 
havior of American men by consulting Husti 
and Naughty Nylons, spending a week in F( 
ty-Second Street porn theaters, and exam: 
ing the rape file of the Los Angeles Poli 
Department. The vilest behavior of backwoo 
psychopaths — persons who wound, tortui 
dismember, and burn wild animals alive- 
held up as if it were considered normal 
even praiseworthy behavior by most spor 
men, as are such pastimes as poaching, ro< 
shooting, killing with the aid of airplanes ar 
snowmobiles, drunken littering, and malicio 
killing of domestic animals. Amory allows 1) 
readers to imagine that these activities a 
best be curtailed by the elimination of license 
and regulated sport hunting. As it is, hunte 
and fishermen contribute through license fe 
and the Pittman-Robertson Act — an excise t< 
levied upon all guns, ammunition, and fis 
ing equipment sold in the United States- 
virtually all of the money used by the stat 
and the federal government for wildlife ma 
agement and habitat enhancement. 

Not surprisingly, Amory nowhere ii 
diatribe makes reference to the rather wid 
spread custom of meat-eating. To do so woul 
lead him into absurdity and contradiction 
Anybody who eats meat — or, for that matte 
wears leather or keeps a dog or cat and feec 
it anything other than brussels sprouts- 
prives himself of his only philosophically d< 
fensible argument against the hunt. Herein lie 
the telling connection: antihunting zealots an 
Bolinas ideologues are joined in their mutuc 
desire to purify the self of the World. Th 
positing of the Good in something called N< 
ture is, at bottom, a particularly inhuman 
form of sentimentality: inhumane because i 
removes a fundamental quality or impuls 
from the civilized mind of man to a nevei 
never land of childish dream. One cannot, i 
one wishes to admire the wholeness of nature 
process, fasten too closely upon the life an« 
death of the individual organism. To com 
back to the hunt, if one chooses to imagin 
that the individual rabbit, for example, has , 
soul, then one must rail against nature, fo 
more than 80 percent of all rabbits die eacl 
winter, although the animal's potential life 



36 



"We're in danger of losing our 
nost economical source of power." 



-Meredith D. Persson, Nuclear Cost Ac countant 



"In most areas of the country, nuclear energy is our 
apest source of electric power. On the average, electricity 
a nuclear energy costs 1.23 cents per kilowatt hour; but 
tncitv from oil runs to 3.36 cents! 

Despite these figures, only three nuclear plants were 
ed in 1977. 

In man y areas , nuclear ener gy 
saves customers millions of dollars. 
"Nuclear plants saved customers of New England elec- 
companies $380 million, compared to what an equivalent 




amount of power generated by oil would have cost. In Illinois, 
nuclear power saved customers $125 million; in the Carolinas, 
$1 $8 million; in Iowa. $16 million. 

The price of oil itself will no doubt continue to rise. 

his clearly hurts the car and home 
owner. It also hurts in less visible 
ways— in higher electric rates, 
in the cost of energy that goes 
into manufactured products. 
But nuclear power can ease 
inflationary pressures 
while it helps us through 
the energy crisis. 

Nuclear ener gy 
prevented disaster 
durin g the bi g freeze . 
Dunng the 
record cold wave of 
76-77, demand 
for fuel shot up— 
while dehvenes of 
coal, oil, and gas (to 
homes, businesses, and 
power plants) slid down. 
People switched to 
■lectricity to make up the fuel loss, 
and demands soared to record peaks. Over 20 billion kilowatt- 
hours of electricity were produced from more than 50 nuclear 
generating units. These plants, by continuing to supply electric- 
ity where others couldn't, saved an estimated 257,000 jobs, and 
prevented a disastrous decrease m the gross national product. 
Nuclear power can't do the job alone — 
we still need coal as a ma j or source of electricit y. 
"Electric companies are, 
where feasible, converting 
power plants from oil and nat- 
ural gas to coal. Coal may 
make more sense than nuclear 
power in certain areas— nght 
where coal fields are located, 
for example. 

"But remember that in 
some sections of the country 
our electnc power capacity is 
stretching thin— dangerously 
thin, as the cold snap revealed.' g 





The time to build power plants is now. 



By 1988 Amenca will need 40% more electneity just to 
supply all the new people and their jobs. New power 
plants— both nuclear and coal —are urgently needed and 
must be started at once to be ready in time. For facts on 
your energy options, just send in the coupon. 

Edison Electric Institute 
for the electric companies 



Edison Electric Institute 
| P.O. Box 2491, General P. 



Ortic 



NewYotk, N Y. 10001 
Please send me free informahon about nuclear energy and the energy' crisis. 
Name 



Addn 



.Phone. 



-State. 



.Zip. 



Gene Lyons 
POLITICS 
IN THE 
WOODS 



HARPER'S 
JULY 1978 



span is several years. That is why rabbits are 
famous for what they are famous for. Nature's 
way of solving the riddle of the Point Reyes 
deer would have taken longer, but the results 
are nevertheless predictable. 



MEN kill and men die. One can no 
more escape complicity than one can 
walk without touching the ground, 
whether one chooses to try by pur- 
chasing animal flesh out of refrigerated com- 
partments or by converting park rangers into 
slaughterhouse attendants. Even vegetarians 
cannot, in the modern world, exempt them- 
selves. How much wheat and corn could Kan- 
sas and Nebraska produce with millions of 
bison eating everything down to the roots? 
To mow the lawn is to eliminate habitat for 
small mammals and birds. To drain swamps 
is to reduce the number of mosquitoes — also 
the number of ducks, muskrat, otter, turtles, 
and fish. 

Just past the argument that hunting is mur- 
der lies the related superstition that it is a 
violent and bloodthirsty pastime that mars the 
sensibility of persons who indulge in it. The 
Humane Society of the United States, for ex- 
ample, says that it looks for "a generation 
of adults who will no longer have any wish, 
desire, or willingness to kill any living crea- 
ture purely for pleasure and recreation.'' The 
argument is in essence a puritanical one and 
should be recognized as such. "One does not 
hunt in order to kill," Ortega y Gasset said, 
"one kills in order to have hunted." In the 
death of the beast one rehearses one's own: 
"Hunting.'' Ortega argues, "is an occurrence 
between two animals . . . one the hunter and 
one the hunted." The hunter cannot exist 
without the prey, and so, in his way, he loves 
it. If the hunter were always successful in his 
quest it would be not hunting but something 
else — what the park rangers are doing at 
Point Reyes, perhaps. That is why the sports- 
man has imposed limits upon himself to pre- 
vent the contest's becoming too one-sided. To 
employ all of one's intelligence and techno- 
logical advantages against a wild animal i> 
cheating. 

If sportsmen's groups spent more time, 
energy, and money decrying technological 
abuses and reckless shooting and less time on 
the ludicrous claim that hunting has some 
mysterious connection to virility and patrio- 
tism, that point might not be so easily lost. 
I have never been in the company of hunters 
anywhere, whether in Massachusetts. Virginia, 
Arkansas, or California — the places I have 
hunted or spoken to numbers of hunters — 



where men who exhibit aggressive tendenchL 
and derive obvious pleasure from the kil 
ing part of the ritual are not disliked an 
shunned by their fellows. (There is an ol 
vious and natural limit to man's ability- 
playing by the rules — to kill game. As an 
hunter knows who hunts a species in whi 
the season is long enough to make a diffei 
ence, by the end of that term game gets scare 
and difficult to find. The rabbit season wher 
I live, for example, opens October 1 and close 
February 15. Anybody who goes hunting al 
ter Christmas is in it for something other thai 
killing. By February rabbits are grown si 
scarce — and would do so, it is important t< 
note, whether they were hunted by men o 
not — that it is often hard to find enough t( 
give the dogs a good day's run. ) A persoi 
seeking sadistic thrills is better off with pre 
football or stock-car racing. If killing wen 
the point of hunting, most people would givj 
it up out of boredom. 

Hunters do have one thing in common witl 
persons who like to take pictures of wildlife 
or simply to sit in their living rooms, 
many antihunters do, and contemplate the 
idea of animals running free. That is the pro- 
tection of habitat. It is hardly possible to man- 
age a park, preserve, or wilderness to ben- 
efit game species without benefiting nongame 
species as well. Thirty-five species of mam- 
mals are legally hunted in the United States; 
more than 800 are not. For birds the figures 
are seventy-four and over 700. No endan- 
gered >pecies are hunted legally, and accord- 
ing to the National Wildlife Federation, no 
species was ever put on that list by modern 
i i.e.. twentieth-century I sport hunting in this 
country. Many species have been brought 
from scarcity or near extinction to abundance 
through game-management techniques largely 
financed by hunters' taxes — deer, antelope, 
wild turkey, elk, and others. More deer by far 
are killed by automobiles than by all the 
hunters in Christendom. 

The deer is not innocent unless the wolf is 
guilty. Deer are animals; they have no indi- 
vidual moral natures. To us they are an enig- 
ma, permanently other, seeming whole and 
free of contradiction only because the terms 
are our own. They live and die as we do, and 
we are implicated in their fate through the 
power we have over them. We have humanized 
our planet to the point where nature itself has 
grown bureaucratic. In the long run we are 
likelier to be kept sane by the example of 
those among us who can join the hunt and 
tolerate the ambiguity of things than by the 
childlike visions of half-informed Jeremiahs 
preaching the omnivorous guilt of others. □ 



38 



INTO 
ERITREA 



AFRICA'S 
RED SEA 
WAR 



A journey to the heart of the matter 



HRITREA IS Ethiopia's northernmost 
province — 45,000 square miles of 
mountains and desert bordering the 
Red Sea just north of Africa's "Horn." 
It is Ethiopia's only outlet to the sea, and the 
peacetime population has been about 2 million, 
but within the past couple of years 200,000 of 
these people have taken refuge in the neigh- 
boring Sudan because of the civil war going 
on. The Eritreans' war for independence from 
Ethiopia began with a few skirmishes in 1962, 
when Haile Selassie (not for no reason known 
as the "King of Kings") annexed the terri- 
tory to his own country, after a United Na- 
tions mandate had rather clumsily "federated" 
it to Ethiopia, with semi-autonomous status, 
ten years before. Between 1941 and 1952 
Eritrea had been administered by the British, 
who took it from the Italians early in World 
War II. Previously it had been part of Italian 
East Africa, the Italians having gained their 
ascendancy in 1890. For three centuries be- 
fore that, Ottoman, Egyptian, and Ethiopian 
empire-builders had variously disputed pos- 
session of it, and a thousand years before 
that, it was the heartland of the Christian 
kingdom of Aksum. 

Haile Selassie was overthrown in Addis 
Ababa in 1974. The swiftly radicalized gov- 
erning Dergue (which is Amharic for "com- 
mittee") sharply stepped up the emperor's 



by Edward Hoagland 



military campaign to beat back Eritrean se- 
cession, but in so doing only furthered the 
Eritrean Liberation Front cause. Meanwhile 
other corners of the Ethiopian empire were 
coming unstitched, notably the Ogaden re- 
gion near Somalia. And the Dergue was shift- 
ing away from the emperor's old alliance 
with the Americans and toward the Soviet 
camp, and also aiding continual attempted 
coups against President Gaafar Numeiri in 
the Sudan, thereby losing the good offices Nu- 
meiri had been trying to exert to mediate the 
Eritrean war so that the refugees, who were 
an unsettling influence in his own country, 
could go home. 

Early in 1977 I was in the Sudan, and I 
met many young Eritreans who had been in- 
valided out of the fighting. Because I was a 
journalist they knocked at my door with a 
leaflet of propaganda or a shrapnel scar to 
show, much preoccupied with the matter of 
which rivals they wanted to kill even among 
the several factions of the insurrection, put- 
ting their hands together to show me how 
so-and-so should be handcuffed for question- 
ing. Mostly this was just talk. When applying 
for a passport — a futile process — they used 
to go to the embassy of the hated Dergue itself 
in Khartoum without killing anybody. 

"These are my golden years, wasted!" a 
haggard boy named Issayas said, at the Hotel 



Edward Hoagland is an essayist and novelist, author of Notes from the Century- Before and Walking the Dead Diamond 
River. This article is taken from a work in progress about the Sudan. 



Metropole, plucking angrily at his porter's 
tunic. He had left the city of Keren with both 
a technical-school diploma and a case of amoe- 
bic dysentery for which he still could not 
afford treatment. In Keren, he claimed, the 
Ethiopians had killed something like 750 
civilians in search operations in 1975, and 
finally his father had told him to run for his 
life; but in the two years since, he hadn't been 
able to get word back that he was alive. 

Even down in Juba, near the Sudan's bound- 
ary with Uganda, there had been a cell of 
Eritrean conspirators, disguised as gospel 
workers but shepherding a series of sardonic, 
shifty-looking agents in and out of town, en 
route to Kenya and Somalia. They wanted me 
to write about them also, but in the nit-pick- 
ing manner of so many revolutionaries, would 
talk to me only if I guaranteed that what I 
found to say was going to be wholly favorable. 
For all my curiosity about the guerrillas — the 
strategy of their raids, their weapons-buying, 
their passionate provincialism — the obsession 
with killing and ideological purity was soon 
too much for me. 

Then came the chance to go into Eritrea 
itself with two newsmen, crossing a dry river- 
bed at Karora a few days after the town had 
fallen to the rebels in the first of a domino 
sequence of victories that they won during 
1977. The houses of the town had been de- 
stroyed beforehand by the Ethiopian troops, 
and there were rumors of mass graves of some 
of the 5,000 civilians who had once lived 
nearby. But now the Eritreans, in green fa- 
tigues and waving the Kalashnikov rifles that 
have become ubiquitous to guerrilla warfare, 
had raised their pretty azure flag with a rosette 
of olive leaves and appropriated the trenches 
and machine-gun sites. Most of them were 
hardly twenty years old, blooming with the 
ideal of the classless state that they were go- 
ing to build. They were of the "Eritrean Peo- 
ple's Liberation Front," and they had taken 
the town while a contingent of the Eritrean 
Liberation Front that had invested Karora 
for eight months continued to hold the hills. 
Nevertheless, they would not permit the ELF 
partisans to enter now; had fired at them in 
the flush of victory when they tried. "Com- 
rade," "Brother" came out as every second 
word, but along the path to the latrine stood 
a cardboard box heaped with the love letters 
of the Ethiopian soldiers they had beaten. 
"That's our toilet paper," said our young 
guide, with his fine-boned, brown skin, en- 
dearing grin, and Afro hair. Chairman Mao's 
Thoughts riding red-bound in his breast 
pocket. 

This is the story of my trip. 



Prisoners of war 



zz abdel — as I will call him — was a Suda- 

[nese newspaperman; and we had an Eng- 
lish boy along, a would-be free-lance 
journalist from Liverpool with a brush 
haircut, who had been teaching English in 
Omdurman to classes of sixty kids at a time, 
and was with us to represent the Khartoum 
stringer for one of the London newspapers. 
We drove for a day and a night by Land 
Rover through Hadendowa country. The Ha- 
dendowas are Cushites, not Arabs, and not by 
tradition the friendliest people in the Sudan, 
even to each other, except for the family 
bond. Izz Abdel said we ought to have brought 
a policeman with us for safety's sake, but that 
because these people associated Land Rovers 
with government bigwigs they would probably 
leave us alone. In fact, every time we stopped 
at a campsite to ask directions across the des- 
ert hardpan, the women and children shrieked 
and ran away, imagining that we might be a 
team of doctors who proposed to inoculate 
them. 

Our driver, Abdullah — which means "the 
slave of Allah" in Arabic — was a thin, faith- 
ful man with a V-shaped face, scars nicking 
his brows and forehead. His whispery, musi- 
cal voice was that of a person raised in the 
desert mountains, whose gentlest enunciation 
there might have carried for a mile in the 
soft air. But he had never been to Eritrea. 
Neither had Izz Abdel. The latter, a quick- 
paced, calculating, opportunistic fellow of 
fifty, was just the sort who in America would 
be a millionaire. As it was, he told me, one 
way or another, he had earned enough to live 
on "for twenty years" — nodding to indicate 
that that ought to be long enough for him. 
Although in Cairo the souls one sees prostrate 
in prayer in public places are mostly laborers 
and the poor, in Khartoum a professor of 
literature I was talking with grew increasingly 
restless at nightfall, until he broke off to go 
outdoors and kneel facing the east. Exactly 
so, this Khartoum entrepreneur — whose iden- 
tity I must conceal, yet who at the end of our 
hectic trip played me a dirty, entrepreneur- 
type trick — kept stopping the car at dawn, 
midday, midafternoon, sunset, and nightfall 
to go down on his knees, after first washing 
his hands and feet with sand. 

On our way, we had already stopped at the 
Sudanese town of Gebeit to visit the Ethiopian 
prisoners of the battle of Karora, who had 
chosen to give themselves up to the Sudanese 
army rather than suffer incarceration at the 
hands of the Eritreans — a saltless, meatless, 



fruitless imprisonment in caves and a dry 
wash twenty-five miles deeper into Eritrea 
from Karora, we were told. 

In Gebeit, the Ethiopians' cook, at least, was 
very broad and fat. He had a fire going under 
a black pot full of water with bits of goat 
meat and okra floating in it, and was so un- 
fazed by his captivity that he drove us out of 
his concrete kitchen with a growl and flourish 
of his fist. The Ethiopian soldiers themselves 
were skinny, tall, black, mountain-raised 
Christians with delicate features, who waited 
now, abashed and timid, under guard in this 
hot, Muslim country — having carried, "like 
women," as the Sudanese garrison command- 
er put it, several grenade launchers, ninety 
American M-14 rifles, and some 12,000 
rounds of ammunition into detention with 
them. A Sudanese company "would have held 
out for a year, and died to the last man, if 
you gave them that," he said. 

Indeed, a wounded Ethiopian we spoke with 
in the hospital used the same figure of speech. 
"If a woman has a fight with her husband, she 
goes to the neighbor's next door, not back to 
her husband," he explained in murmured Am- 
haric, which was translated into Arabic for 
Izz Abdel and then by him into English for 
me. "We went in the direction from which 
there was no firing." 

This man, bandaged on one arm, and the 
Ethiopian in the bed next to his, who had been 
shot through the mouth, were cowed. They 



allowed a Sudanese television cameraman to 
pose them for pictures with a loaned cigarette 
pushed to the lips of the first and a sarcastic 
doctor leaning over the second, pretending 
to listen to his heart. The three Ethiopian of- 
ficers were not submissive, though they were 
in a pitifully precarious position. Their own 
country would not acknowledge their survival, 
would not ask for their repatriation, and might 
well shoot them as cowards if it ever did. 

" \\ e came with our weapons to a neutral 
country. We are soldiers. We are not prison- 
ers," the captain said. And yet the Sudan was 
no longer neutral, as he realized — had begun 
to support the Muslim Eritreans and to hope 
for the overthrow of the Dergue. 

"We are not monkeys from the jungle, to be 
exhibited to white men!" he exclaimed to Izz 
Abdel, who, like me, was then part of a larger 
assemblage of newsmen, including reporters 
from the London Daily Telegraph and Daily 
Express. Appealing as an African to the sense 
of honor of his captors, he consented to see 
only the Sudanese journalists and a Tunisian 
— -"the Africans," he said, although he al- 
lowed a Syrian into the room. "No pictures. 
No pictures," we heard him say. "We would 
be signing our death warrants!" 

"But this is history! It must be recorded!" 
the Sudanese cameraman argued, also in Eng- 
lish, equally emotionally, until the Sudanese 
commander, in harsh-sounding Arabic, sided 
half-contemptuously with the officer. 




ebeit WAS A little town, reachable 

Gfrom Port Sudan by a narrow, stony 
track that twisted between wild, leop- 
ardy, slag-colored hills, with a min- 
aret and water tower standing against the 
evening sky when we got there. Because the 
telephone line was down, the garrison was 
caught almost as much by surprise as were 
the prisoners when our headlights swept into 
the central square. Later, the Syrian went 
home to Damascus; the Tunisian fell in with 
two Frenchmen who were setting forth from 
the Red Sea to sail around the world but had 
not yet drunk up the last of their Burgundy; 
and the London newsmen embroiled them- 
selves in a quarrel with the commissioner of 
Red Sea Province over whether he should 
furnish his one helicopter for all of us to fly 
to Karora, which resulted in their staying 
behind in Port Sudan. But for now, with our 
cameras or notebooks at the ready, into the 
common barracks we rushed. 

These were privates, sergeants, corporals, 
ninety-six of them, lying in their fatigues on 
two rows of white-sheeted cots, in a 200-foot 
building, with three weak light bulbs and four 
water jugs. A jolt of fear went through them, 
naturally. They had been under siege in Ka- 
rora for eight months and — now fallen into the 
hands of these new but ancient enemies from 
Islam — were not as yet convinced they weren't 
about to lose their lives. One man was so 
startled he sprang onto his bed and stood 
teetering there. Every one of them went to 
a cot, most sidling over and quickly lying 
down, some on their faces, some masking their 
noses or covering their heads with a sheet so 
that they could not be photographed. For a 
moment nobody in that long barren room 
would admit to speaking either Arabic or Eng- 
lish because to do so might involve being 
quoted. Like Abdullah, these were mountain 
people accustomed to speaking in hums and 
clicks and whistles, in murmured whispers, 
up high in a terrain where they could hear the 
wings of birds a mile or more away. The 
mountains of Ethiopia are much higher, how- 
ever, and the very notes of fear and nervous- 
ness they uttered amounted to a sort of poi- 
gnant twitter, ending in silence. 

I knew that in Ethiopia repatriated war 
prisoners at their luckiest were likely to find 
themselves officially "dead"; no working 
papers or other identification were given to 
them by which they might resume their exis- 
tence. So, as one young man was provoked 
by the sight of the cameras to break into an 
anguished remonstration, I began walking the 
length of the barracks slowly and quite sadly. 
"I have no need to be photographed!" he 



cried, practically weeping — meaning that in- 
ternational law did not require him to submit 
to treatment appropriate to a surrendered en- 
emy prisoner. Two other Ethiopians also stood 
in front of the Sudanese and English who were 
holding cameras, seeking to keep them back. 

"I have no need to do this! I will dig my 
grave if I do this!" the private protested, 
as spokesman, in his mission-college English. 

I was looking for a face that might show a 
willingness to talk to me, among these sorrow- 
ful, humiliated figures, each stretched out 
gangling, tense, and motionless, as if I were 
a striped hyena that had got loose in the 
room. None of them was in the slightest will- 
ing, and gradually, by the time I reached the 
far end, 1 had stopped looking and was delay- 
ing my steps, closing my eyes in order to try 
to absorb some memory of the rancid misery. 
It was tasteable — like a mist — and African as 
well as merely military, so that it did not 
connect very well with my own army rec- 
ollections. 

Since I was not after the same material as 
the newspapermen, I could join the argument 
on the Ethiopians' side. The J)aily Express 
man had been joking as we drove to Gebeit 
that the commanding general in Port Sudan 
would already have phoned ahead to "paste 
their fingernails back on." But here we were, 
after a bumpy ride, including two flat tires, 
the jackals howling as we'd watched poor Ab- 
dullah wrestle with the spares, and nobody 
would give him a story. "There's no lead" 
he kept complaining loudly, pushing for an 
angle, pushing for the sake of pushing, any- 
way, though he didn't want to put anybody's 
life in jeopardy, either. 

The reporter from the Telegraph was a 
languid-looking Cambridge graduate who told 
us he had eaten Mangabey monkey on the 
Congo River, although just now, like his col- 
league from the Express, he felt disgruntled 
and outflanked because a BBC reporter named 
Simon Dring had already gotten clear past in- 
terviewing these prisoners two days ahead of 
us, and into Eritrea at Karora, and on fifty 
or sixty miles to the district town of Nakfa, 
which the Eritreans currently had under siege. 
Dring was an intrepid professional, known for 
his exploits in Pakistan and Vietnam. Once 
again he was in there, as they said a first-rate 
reporter should be. They were scared the 
Eritreans might stage a special attack on 
Nakfa for him to film, and were trying to 
piece together an account of what was hap- 
pening from secondary sources closer to 
Khartoum to telex to London before he got 
out of Eritrea, in order to take the shine off 
whatever news and film he had. 



"A wink is as good as a nod to a blind 
man," said Jimmy Brash, the Express man. 
He joked under his breath about "Kaffirs," 
seeing how loud he could say it without being 
overheard. The Telegraph photographer was 
a square-set bloke with a bad back, older and 
raunchier than the others. While we'd waited 
in the anteroom of the commissioner of Ked 
Sea Province, he'd pointed out the window 
at one of the herds of goats that scavenge 
everywhere, and said he'd like to pull on a pair 
of Wellie boots and screw those blondies. 
When there was a chance, he skinned off his 
Hawaiian sport shirt and exposed his pink- 
and-white, scantily furred chest to the sun. 
"Saves going to Monte Carlo." 

Naturally, this confabulation of the English 
press had not occurred to celebrate a minus- 
cule guerrilla victory in a landscape of can- 
delabrum, dragon's blood, and toothbrush 
trees. Rather, the Eritreans had released, a 
few days earlier, a British contract-hydrologist 
named Ransom and his family from three 
months' captivity. Unlike a number of previous 
kidnappings of Europeans and Americans who 
had wandered into guerrilla territory, there 
were three children and a pretty wife in- 
volved, and so the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, 
and the Sunday Mirror had flown in represen- 
tatives to Khartoum to bid for first serial rights 
on the Ransoms' story. But, according to Jim- 
my Brash, who walled his eyes at every dis- 
cussion of missionary mentality, the Mirror 
man had gotten stranded temporarily in Nai- 
robi, and though he had arrived prepared to 
offer £25,000 for this tale out of Darkest 
Africa, Mr. Ransom said no, because he'd al- 
ready been offered £16,000 by the Daily Mail 
and he had shaken hands. 

The Red Sea Province commissioner, him- 
self a graduate of the University of Manches- 
ter, was a somber, ironic man of forty-nine. 
He spoke with deadly contempt of the Ethio- 
pians who had abandoned their post at Karo- 
ra. "They didn't want to die," he said with 
a collected ferocity and relish. He seemed 
coolly bemused by Brash and his two mates 
as social specimens, when we all sat down 
to tea in his office, but he was also alarmed, 
because Brash had drafted a telegram to 
President Numeiri concerning the matter of 
the helicopter. This wire, couched in terms of 
our being personal guests of both the president 
and the nation, was never sent, and only a 
couple of months later, as it turned out, the 
commissioner was elevated to a position in the 
Cabinet. Instead, we were told we could go 
overland to Karora. The Londoners, after the 
visit to Gebeit, stayed in Port Sudan and in- 
terviewed a Sudanese major who had witnessed 



the final battle and accepted the Ethiopians' 
surrender. Izz Abdel, Abdullah, I, and the boy 
from Liverpool set off. 

T's CHARACTERISTIC of traveling in Africa 

I that, a little while before, I had been told 
forthrightly by the same Sudanese major 
that I might be shot by the Eritreans if I 
tried to cross the border. "We have no com- 
munications with them. You would have to 
walk across the river alone, and they have a 
bunker facing where you would be. They 
would not know who you are and they would 
watch you come and decide what to do. Even 
we don't know them yet." In any event, I 
would not be permitted to reenter the Sudan. 
"It is not a legal crossing point. What you 
would do if they didn't like you, and how 
you would get out of there even if they did, 
I can't say," he had told me, with a minimal 
smile. Simon Dring, whose stunt in entering 
he didn't mention, had employed a daredevil 
free-lance Sudanese intelligence agent to 
smooth the way. 

But now, after the Londoners' threatened 
telegram and Izz Abdel's hard sell — invoking 
me as a correspondent for the New York 
Times, since I was from New York City and 
because in order to be allowed to go, he 
needed me — we were rolling. What we lacked 
was a map. There are so few roads in the 
Sudan, there are no road maps. No maps of 
any kind at this time were obtainable, except 
that through special dispensation of the Amer- 
ican Embassy I'd got hold of a twelve-by- 
twelve-inch sketch of the nation. Keeping one 
eye on old wheel ruts, we tilted this around 
to conform with the course of the sun. Izz Ab- 
del — who was as squat as he was bold, wore 
a black headcloth, later a white headcloth, 
and called on Allah frequently — burst unex- 
pectedly into laughter, remembering other ad- 
ventures on the Uganda border during the 
Sudan's own civil war. He took over the wheel 
from Abdullah at the worst spots, as if to 
show the car who was its boss. After Tokar, 
we had no distinguishable roadway to follow. 

Tokar, at the delta of the Baraka River, 
flowing out of Eritrea, is the site of a cotton- 
growing scheme. Pilgrims to Mecca from West 
Africa historically have paused here in the 
cotton fields for a season to earn their boat 
passage across the sea. We arrived at dark, 
and it was easy to get stuck in the outflow 
from the irrigation ditches roundabout, or 
lost among the tractor tracks. For two hours 
the next morning, we headed out again mis- 
takenly in the wrong direction. The town is 
spaciously laid out, but so lightless at night 



that the children must wait for the moon to 
wax to do much playing after the sun goes 
down, so poor and dispirited that several 
families had dug mud for their house bricks 
right from the street in front — big pits ten 
feet wide and ten feet deep, extremely difficult 
to see and dodge in a vehicle at night. 

Many of these people were Hadendowas, 
who speak Bedawiye before they learn Arabic, 
or Bani-Amer, whose native language is Ti- 
gre. So when my manipulative companion Izz 
Abdel tried, at the whitewashed Government 
Club, to procure supper for the four of us by 
appealing to the obsessive hospitality of Arab 
culture, he managed to conjure up only a cup 
of coffee and a glass of orange squash apiece. 
The members, at their card games, glared at 
us over one shoulder suspiciously. 

Meeting an Arab peddler leading a donkey 
in the desert that afternoon, Izz Abdel, in his 
practiced style, had stepped out of the Land 
Rover, patting his heart repeatedly and ex- 
claiming, "There is no god but God!" 

The peddler, who was a butcher — his don- 
key festooned with goat rib cages and legs — 
jerked the animal's halter to bring it to a 
stop, and placed his right hand on his heart. 
"Mohammed is the Apostle of God!" he said. 

"Bless the Prophet!" said Izz Abdel. 

"Peace be upon him," the peddler an- 
sii ered. 

The whole four-part formula was gone 
through again, in a bountifully zestful, leisure- 
ly fashion. Then, too, again, the words for the 
first time starting to sound a little bit slurred, 
both men dropping their eyes from what I 
took to be the beginnings of boredom. Then 
yet again — before Izz Abdel inquired after 
directions to Tokar — by which time the en- 
tire fate of the peddler's soul might seem to 
have been staked upon the accuracy of what 
he said. But these Hadendowa notables in 
their white sheets did not respond to Izz 
Abdel's invocations except perfunctorily. 

Arabs hoard their women like water in the 
desert, but the Hadendowa women go un- 
veiled. They do their share of herding, and 
will gallop on a camel across the sand like a 
man when they want to, carrying a wicked- 
looking cutlass, on occasion, which they grip 
when meeting a stranger — gazing at you with 
scorn to forestall any incivility. Their tents 
are frog-shaped, constructed of hides and 
woven mats of goats' and camels' hair on a 
stick frame, the large mouth facing east. The 
men we saw, dressed in white, with a "fuzzy- 
wuzzy" hayrick of hair worn as high and 
proud as a Texan sports his hat, carried three- 
foot-long herding poles and narrow-bladed 
little brushwood hatchets, or one of their de- 



finitive, red-scabbarded, immense swords. At 
the time of Mahdi, they defeated at least one 
British general with these, and later, in defeat, 
still charged and broke a British square, as in 
Kipling's poem in praise of them. 



Approaching the elusive border 



nHE FOLLOWING day, Izz Abdel had 
Abdullah stop every couple of hours 
so we could "pass water." Then, "Gen- 
tlemen, prepare yourselves!" — when 
it was time to continue again. Black sand al- 
ternated after ten or fifteen miles with soft 
white sand, or thorn-tree savanna land, or 
brine flats by the sea, with the beach beyond. 
The emaciated, desert-colored dogs darting 
around the miserable mud shops we passed 
could muster enough energy to bark but hadn't 
the moisture in their bodies to piss success- 
fully when they greeted one another. 

George, the journalist from Liverpool we 
had brought with us, was a Communist and 
had carried his Marx along, a paperback copy 
of Das Kapital to read if we broke down 
somewhere, or perhaps to impress the guer- 
rillas ( it later seemed ) . Though he was sym- 
pathetic to the proletariat, and said his father 
was a lorry driver back home, he kept raging 
unreasonably at Abdullah for "stupidity" in 
driving. He claimed he was a pacifist, as well, 
and yet became exultant, bobbing up and 
down, when the first of what were possibly the 
Karora Hills materialized ahead of us, where 
the war would be. Izz Abdel acted less san- 
guine. Apart from not being sure where Ka- 
rora itself was located, we didn t know where 
the line of the border lay — had no guide or 
compass — and didn't want to cross inadver- 
tently, like a bunch of "spies." Generally, as 
we traveled now, to the south and west we 
could see a rough small knot of mountains — 
not the same ones, apparently — a country 
where, a century ago, people may have car- 
ried gold from hidden workings to market, 
poured into hollow vulture quills. We knew 
that Eritrea was mountainous, but not where 
it began. George in the meantime was trying 
to argue Izz Abdel, not only into accepting 
the tenets of Marx, but out of his faith in the 
existence of God. Izz Abdel. though a broad- 
minded, worldly man, snorted at such folly. 

"This is the Sudan, my friend. You are not 
among your bloody atheists in London!" 

The Bani-Amer, a tribe related to the Ha- 
dendowas but hostile to them, live nearer the 
border and inhabit thatched-stick, rectangular 
hovels, patched with old tin, with an unbaked 
clay pot standing outside the door from which 



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water oozes just fast enough to keep the con- 
tents cool, and a brush corral attached for the 
livestock. Our motor startled herds of up to 
eighty camels, some of them hobbled, and 
double that number of goats, which had been 
lying peacefully in the sun. till they lurched 
onto their feet — all of them the very balls of 
the local sheikh. The women in flowing, pink 
or yellow taubs ran to head off nervous in- 
dividual beasts. 

We suffered another flat, and sprawled un- 
der a rock while Abdullah drove the car onto 
the punctured tire to get it off the wheel. He 
patched and mounted it again, and laboriously 
inflated it with a bicycle pump. Once, when 
flying to Khartoum, I had seen a bicycle pump 
used to fuel a Sudan Airways jet. In the office 
building in central Khartoum that houses the 
U.S. Embassy. I had often ridden up and 
down for several minutes in the elevator with 
a CIA type, while we took turns trying to 
snatch the door open just as we reached the 
fourth floor, because there was no other way 
to persuade it to stop. Manual difficulties were 
therefore a fact of life to all of us but we 
were feeling bad-tempered from the heat. 

We passed a dead camel, bloated up, sev- 
eral scattered camel skeletons, and a ghastly 
desiccated donkey carcass, looking almost fos- 
silized and twisted halfway about as if to 
plead against a terrific beating as it died. 
Of course it may have only been protesting 
the agony of the heat. We also went by single 
human graves, each with an upright flat stone 
at the head and foot and a circle of modest- 
sized stones around. For brief stretches, water 
would have gathered in sufficient quantity in 
a slightly soggy area for sorghum to be raised. 
Then, in other terrain, there was nothing ex- 
cept tan-colored rocky sand, relieved every 
couple of miles by an acacia tree or a few 
cactus-looking euphorbias. At the upper ele- 
vations some wild olive trees and cedars grew. 

"Alexander the Great, you know, could tell 
when an army that he was chasing was about 
to give up," Izz Abdel remarked. "That's 
right. He'd just watch their shit. Whenever 
he came to 7 a place where they had camped, 
he walked all over and looked at where they 
had slept and done their business, and if it 
was spotted everywhere with runny stuff with 
blood in it, he knew they would be finished 
running pretty soon." 

We had a handful of bananas left and two 
oranges and some dry bread, but had ex- 
hausted both our water and the Khartoum 
beer we had obtained in Port Sudan. Izz Ab- 
del was a cosmopolite who drank beer when 
traveling to avoid dysentery, but only trusty 
Khartoum beer, brewed from Khartoum water. 



"'We will have some /ea," he concluded 
cautiously, and directed Abdullah to stop at 
one of the mud-brick huts roofed with rusty 
tin and straw that we encountered every twenty 
miles, where our lorry track forked off from 
another or simply crossed a camel path. Our 
host here, an Arab petty trader named \asin 
Ali Suleiman, reassuringly swore eternal fealty 
not only to God but also to us. He had thrown 
a tire on the ground and put a block of salt 
in it and an armload of sorghum straw for 
his customers' camels. Three of these were 
"barracked" in the yard with their forelegs 
tied up under them, though they could walk 
a little on the ball of the knee to reach the 
fodder or a tin tub of water. The largest was 
able to get up and stand on three legs and 
hop along, because his owner had bound only 
one of his knees. 

Riding camels are males, whereas the breed- 
ing herds we had been passing along the way 
were mostly composed of females. Although a 
camel's nostrils can express consummate dis- 
dain, it is by a rope wrapped around his nos- 
trils that his rider controls him. Controls but 
can't wholly domesticate him, because with 
their great vigorous necks, mean front teeth, 
contemptuous lips, threatening grunts and an- 
gry groans, camels do hold their own. They 
have not even been shaped by the 3,500-year 
experience of man, because the neck and hump 
are still architectured for living in the wilder- 
ness independently. Being so comely and tall 
— half giraffe and half gazelle — they are un- 
diminishedly free-looking. We could drive all 
day and never see a wild animal yet somehow 
never realize this because we were seeing 
plenty of camels. These powerful creatures 
— the grace not sacrificed to strength, the 
strength not sacrificed to grace — nibbling high 
twigs in the thorn trees looked wild enough. 
And this big one, with his saddle scabbard 
sticking up as he lay watching us, himself 
appeared to be sporting the sword. 

ASIN ali, our storekeeper, was a poor 

Yman, selling hunks of pink soap, 
flashlight batteries, cloth cut from 
a trio of bright bolts, some grain in 
baskets, cooking oil, rope, thin saucepans and 
stewing pots, perfumes and spices. Spices are 
a particular necessity where so many meals 
consist of nothing but boiled mush. The per- 
fume was a brand known as "Bint of the Su- 
dan" {bint meaning girl), which is manufac- 
tured in Great Britain but advertised by post- 
ers of a plump dark girl with naked breasts. 

Middle-aged, moustached, he wore an or- 
ange skullcap, just showing underneath his 



turban, and had a radio, which happened to 
be playing "London Calling" in Arabic. As we 
sat with him, he proved his poverty, however, 
by killing twin baby goats so that his young 
son could have the mother's milk, though he 
told us it would be more profitable to raise 
them. One of the tiny beasts was tied by its 
foot to a post while he strung up and bled 
and skinned the other. After offering us a 
pailful of brown sorghum home brew with a 
gourd floating on top, he sat cross-legged, 
picking its diminutive ribs out of its raw chest 
with his teeth and smiling at Izz Abdel's ques- 
tions and sallies. Izz Abdel, like an indefat- 
igable newsman, never stopped angling for 
information. The Hadendowas in Tokar could 
shrug and ignore him, but Yasin Ali chatted 
responsively, Allah all the time as bright as 
the sun in whatever he said. 

Sitting on a mat under another mat that 
was propped up on poles, we watched him 
dip the tea kettle into a barrel of muddy 
water and blow at the coals of a little fire un- 
der a broken truck radiator, upon which he 
set the kettle. 

His eldest son, leading a donkey, kept 
bringing water from a pit dug in a wadi, the 
waterskins making a peculiar rushing sound, 
as if the donkey were peeing, when he emp- 
tied them into the barrel. Then he'd mount 
again, sitting straight, tossing a white scarf 
about his throat, and trot back, his left leg 
balanced dapperly across the donkey's shoul- 
ders. There are the purposeful postures donkey 
riders assume, the man's weight centered on 
the creature's shoulder blades — and homey, 
negligent, comfy styles of slumping over, 
while perched upon its rump. Some people 
bestraddle the beast, rocking forward impa- 
tiently to lend it impetus. Some hang both 
legs down the same side of its ribs; or they 
will cross their legs, casually bumping along; 
or ;-tick. one leg straight out alongside the 
donkey's neck, with their arms akimbo; or 
hug themselves, although, really, a fat donkey, 
as it picks its way nimbly among the stones, 
looks disconcertingly like a moseying, round- 
bodied mouse. 

"Gentlemen, prepare yourselves," said Izz 
Abdel, when we finished our tea. Driving 
again by the slant of the sun, we saw rain 
clouds ahead of us over the mountains in 
Eritrea. 

"Are you afraid, my friend?" he asked, 
glancing at me. While his billing me as a cor- 
respondent for the New York Times might 
grease the gears for us somewhat, it would 
also make me sound like a juicier hostage, if 
the Eritreans were still of a mind to grab and 
hold a Westerner. Jon Swain, a correspondent 



for the London Times, had only recently been 
released. Because he was our translator, I 
couldn't very well prevent Izz Abdel from 
making any claims he wanted to about me. 
In fact, he may have begun to believe I ac- 
tually was a hard-news reporter because of 
all the notes I took. When we finally got back 
to Port Sudan, he played me the dirty trick 
of calling the airport and then telling me 
there wouldn't be a plane for Khartoum for 
several hours. As soon as I had relaxed and 
gone into the hotel to wash and change, he 
dashed with the English boy to catch one 
that was supposed to leave in fifteen minutes, 
so they could file their stories quicker. 



ELF and EPLF 



arora," HE said, as we pulled up 

K beside a barbed-wire encampment a 
quarter-mile around. It was Friday, 
the Sudanese sabbath. A sentry with 
binoculars stood on the bluff above, to keep 
tabs on the Eritreans' activities, but the rest 
of the detachment of forty soldiers were 
playing volleyball, laundering their clothes, 
or playing cards. The captain, in his sport 
shirt, invited us into his tent, where we were 
given a basin of clear water to drink. Since 
this was not a commercial establishment, it 
was socially incumbent upon us to do so. We 
sat on folding chairs while Izz Abdel explained 
why we had come. Meanwhile, a dog that was 
a living skeleton ran inside with two soldiers 
with clubs stalking and chasing him. He stood 
with arched back and miserably gaped mouth 
next to me. 

"He is a mad dog who has come out of the 
hills. They must kill him before he bites some- 
one," Izz Abdel said. 

I thought him only desperately starved and 
thirsty, but all of us sat very still while the 
soldiers sought to maneuver him out of the 
tent to where he could be safely killed. He 
must have known that to leave would be to die, 
but at last they succeeded in forcing him to 
make a run for it. He couldnt get through 
the fence, and we heard him yelp. Then as 
we walked to the border crossing we saw a pri- 
vate dragging his body to the dump, smiling 
at us, although the captain shouted that it 
was a stupid thing to drag a dead dog along 
in front of an Englishman and an American, 
like that. 

Walking down some stone steps, I felt my 
knees knock a bit. We waited in front of the 
two-story brick-and-stucco police post in the 
shade of a big margosa tree, brought as a 
seedling from India and planted by the Brit- 



ish, the police lieutenant, in his sabbath jibba, 
said. This was where the British post com- 
mander used to meet with his Italian coun- 
terpart when Eritrea had been a province of 
Italian East Africa. They had sniped at each 
other here at the start of World War 'II. The 
army captain went through the bushes to the 
riverbank and hailed the Eritrean People's 
Liberation Front lookout on the opposite side, 
telling him to call his officer. In due course, 
a stocky figure in olive drab scrambled down 
the sand slope, about a hundred yards away, 
and crossed. His name, he said, was Sheikh 
Omer. He was a smoldering, vigorous mil- 
itary man, dark-colored, fortyish, but still 
alight with pride in the victory that he had 
won, although he told us that he bore no 
proper rank, because in a people's army such 
as his all fighters had an equal role. 

Not an individual whose prisoner I would 
like to have been, the sheikh, who had just 
recently been dealing with prisoners, cast a 
cold eye at me. Then, as Izz Abdel talked, he 
shook hands,. I was dressed in a rumpled salt- 
and-pepper Brooks Brothers summer suit and 
Oxford shoes, oddly enough, because this trip 
had been scheduled as a hotel-type press 
junket from Khartoum to Port Sudan and re- 
turn (our Information Ministry escorts had 
washed their hands of us when we set off for 
the border). But though my strange costume 
and black briefcase looked incongruous in the 
setting, they probably acted to convince the 
sheikh that I was either an American foreign 
correspondent or, better yet, a U.S. government 
agent posing as a correspondent. He walked 
back across the riverbed to radio his superior, 
who was commanding the siege at Nakfa, for 
instructions, saying that a decision might take 
another hour. , 

In the meantime, the Sudanese captain had 
sent a pickup truck to bring in the chief of 
the partisans of the Eritrean Liberation Front 
who had besieged the Ethiopians here from 
the crags above but had not managed to crank 
themselves up to the task of actually over- 
running them. Now that the Ethiopians were 
gone, the Sudanese were bulldozing a supply 
road to the ELF's new headquarters at a 
ranchhouse on the valley floor, about a mile 
from the EPLF positions. 

ASHIR abdul kadar was the ELF chief, 

Band they had known him much longer, 
and furthermore would tend to favor 
him because he was a Muslim, and the 
ELF preponderantly Muslim — armed and sup- 
ported by Arab countries such as Syria, Iraq, 
Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The EPLF, orig- 



inally predominantly Christian highlanders, 
had split off from the lowlanders of the ELF 
in 1970 in what began as a religious conflict, 
ushering in three years of civil war within 
the Eritrean independence movement itself. 
About 3,000 guerrillas on both sides are said 
to have been killed. Having been persecuted 
and driven to the highlands in historical times 
by the Muslims, most of the Christians of Er- 
itrea at first had been indifferent to the war 
of independence waged by Eritrean Muslims 
against Haile Selassie's army of Christians 
from Addis Ababa. Yet the Dergue made so 
little distinction between the religious affilia- 
tions of Eritrean villagers in its bombing and 
ground attacks that by the period of my vis- 
it, the ELF and EPLF were not killing each 
other, but merely planning their war strategy 
separately and holding territory "liberated" 
from the Ethiopian army in a leopard-spot 
pattern throughout the province. Each orga- 
nization boasted its own spots. 

The EPLF had 10,000 men under arms, al- 
together, the ELF perhaps 15,000, but the 
EPLF was better and more boldly led. Its 
cadres were better educated, intellectually live- 
lier and trendier, more urban and middle-class 
in origin, and Marxist in theory. They would 
tell you that the ELF was "tribal," "region- 
al," and "backward," but also "pan-Arab," 
and thus not truly "national." They claimed 
they fought mostly with captured— which is 
to say, American — weapons, not brand spank- 
ing new Kalashnikovs, such as the Saudis and 
Syrians had bought and boated to the ELF 
from Yemen. Both groups included Christians 
as well as Muslims now, and social democrats 
as well as Marxists, but the ELF, in answer- 
ing the accusation that it was pan-Arab rather 
than nationalist, argued that — on the contrary 
— the Marxism of so many members of the 
EPLF rendered the EPLF beholden to outside 
ideologues and foreign powers. 

So, George, I, and Izz Abdel shared a 
cheese-and-boiled-egg late lunch with Bashir 
Abdul Kadar on the second-story terrace of 
the police post. It was a breezy, pleasant spot, 
with pigeons bustling and cooing just above 
us on the corrugated roof. The Sudanese, 
after laying out our food, like good marriage 
brokers, withdrew. Mr. Kadar told us he was 
thirty-two and had been living as a revolu- 
tionary in the mountains for thirteen years. 
He had become such an ascetic, particularly 
during the drought and famine of 1975, when 
the Ethiopians cut off international relief sup- 
plies being shipped to Eritrea's civilians, that 
he allowed himself only one of the eggs and 
half the cheese that had been placed on his 
plate. Slender, emotional, idealistic-looking, 



in the style of a schoolteacher, with delicate 
Hamitic features and a fragile mustache under 
his checkered kaffiyeh, he didn't alarm me, as 
had the flat and fearsome manner of the other 
commander. 

Through his interpreter he asked why they 
had never seen a Western journalist before. 
Why this prejudice? Both George and I 
laughed uneasily and pointed out that \S est- 
erners who had entered Eritrea had been de- 
tained lately and. in some cases, never seen 
again. Why. asked the loquacious interpreter, 
did America, which had fought a revolution 
for self-rule, furnish the Fascist Dergue with 
F-5 jets and helicopters to attack them? I 
said that the American government had fa- 
vored Haile Selassie — true enough — but not 
the Dergue, and that the arms presumably 
were intended to counterpoise the Russian 
ordnance then still pouring into Somalia. 

George, however, elated as he was to be 
sharing a meal with genuine guerrillas, began 
to speak of the Imperialist-Oppressors Camp, 
versus the Peace-Loving Republics. He wanted 
them to know where he stood, and started 
ridiculing my explanation, condescending to 
me as a representative of capitalism and the 
Pentagon. "Of course, you uould believe 
that!" 

- The Eritreans threw each other an amused 
glance, to find us Anglos disagreeing. *u ithout 
really accepting him as a fellow fighting pro- 
gressive, the translator, who turned out to be 
the unit's political officer, launched upon an 
enthusiastic lecture about the Socialist March. 

I muttered to my colleague that if he'd want- 
ed to get into a political argument with me. 
why on earth had he not done so during our 
many boring hours in the car instead of wait- 
ing till these precious minutes of the interview? 
Bashir Abdul Kadar seemed to feel the same. 
It was foolishness to harangue this visitor with 
grav in his hair and an American briefcase and 
suit. Interrupting his assistant, he got him to 
tell me that many Eritrean revolutionaries were 
not Communists at all: that although Somalia 
helped them occasionally with passports and 
other small amenities, they received no weap- 
onry from Somalia and had their own troubles 
with the Somalis — as I already knew. In the 
wretched fashion of Africa, these two natural 
allies against Ethiopia, which stretched be- 
tween them, were unable to coordinate their 
strategy freely. The Somalis were blood rela- 
tions of the Issas. one of two inimical Islamic 
tribes inhabiting the tiny coastal French pro- 
tectorate of Djibouti, wedged between Eritrea 
and Ethiopia proper and Somalia. But many 
Eritreans, on the other hand, were related to 
the Afars. who were outnumbered by the Issas 



in Djibouti, and lived in danger of being mas- 
sacred by them after the French left. 

I asked him whether my country's M-14 
rifles were of any use to his men. when they 
collected them from the Ethiopian dead. 

"Oh. it is a good rifle, yes." he said, through 
the interpreter, smiling at that. "It is a rifle 
for an army, you understand. It is not as light 
and handy when you have to run up the side 
of a mountain. But what is important is not the 
rifle that a soldier uses. \t hat is important is 
the man who holds the rifle. That is why the 
Eritrean people are winning against the Ethio- 
pians. Not that we have Kalashnikovs. We are 
fighting for our homeland." 

For all of his asceticism, he wore creamy 
tan pants and smoked a Benson & Hedges, not 
the local Haggar brand of cigarette. In a mod- 
est way he identified himself as the ELF's 
Commissioner of the Military Bureau for the 
Northern Front, and a member of its Revolu- 
tionary Council. He was naturally embarrassed 
that his EPLF rivals had come up underneath 
his machine gun and rocket positions and. af- 
ter two weeks* reconnaisance. had taken the 
town, when he had lain for so much longer 
in the rocks overlooking it. He had guessed 
that the approaches must be mined: but when 
Sheikh Omer. after asking his consent, and 
with a force only slightly larger than his own 
— about half the number of the entrenched 
Ethiopians — launched a creeping assault from 
the direction of Nakfa. they did not encounter 
any mines. 

Starting four hours before sunset, the 
sheikh's men had suffered just two wounded, 
hugging the lay of the land. Although they 
didn't reach the actual \ of the perimeter 
trench that night, they had dug in pressed so 
close that the Ethiopians the next day sent in 
four helicopters from Asmara to ferry away 
their howitzers and other heavy equipment, 
lest these be captured by the Eritreans. The 
Ethiopians had been supplied by air for 
months, but. judging that the helicopters were 
going to fly back to evacuate the troops as well, 
the tough sheikh, in the small hours the fol- 
lowing night, dispatched a party to seize the 
isolated outcrop spur from which the Ethio- 
pians, with a .50-caliber machine gun. had pro- 
tected their landing pad. They succeeded in 
doing just this, and so when, around noontime, 
five Ethiopian helicopters whirled in again to 
pick up the 115 defenders left, these couldn't 
land. After much frustrated chatter, to which 
everybody in the valley with a radio listened 
avidly, they flew off. And that night the Ethi- 
opians sewed together the white flag with 
which they had slunk across the river to the 
old British police post on Sudanese soil where 



we were now enjoying our lunch. Fourteen 
Ethiopian dead and four rearguard, now pris- 
oners, were left behind. The EPLF. after real- 
izing what was up, tumbled into their trenches, 
firing after them, but also shooting at the ir- 
regulars of the ELF, who dashed from the 
nearby ridges where they had witnessed the 
proceedings, to help celebrate the outcome. 

Indeed, the Christian sheikh now treated 
Bashir Abdul with blunt contempt, when Izz 
Abdel posed them for pictures. He almost re- 
fused to shake his hand, though this was part- 
ly political punctiliousness. Since I liked the 
gentler man, seeing him humiliated was painful. 



Mixed loyalties 



fter the picture-taking, Bashir Ab- 

4dul returned to his enclave and we 
accompanied the sheikh across the 
river, keeping in his previous tracks 
in case the Ethiopians at some point had put 
mines down. Perhaps at Izz Abdel's request, 
the Sudanese army captain tagged along — I 
think, to be sure that we were permitted to re- 
turn. In the Sudan it is the pattern that you 
can drive for four arduous days through the 
desert in order to spend what in retrospect has 
amounted to only a few hours at a village of 
naked dancers in the Nuba Mountains, for ex- 
ample; then drive for four days back. There 
is a suddenness when things do happen, as on 
a sweltering afternoon when you have phoned 
the EPLF leader in Khartoum — a number ob- 
tained from the Washington Post's Africa ex- 
pert. You tell the oddly accented voice where 
you live, and he says he will make inquiries 
about you. Meanwhile, you read The Plumed 
Serpent, uncomfortably aware of the narrow 
terrace overhanging the courtyard just outside 
the door, because, like the tightrope walker 
who must keep moving forward if he is to stay 
aloft, you simply can't sit still in this hotel for 
long. Abruptly, however, the man appears 
— pop-eyed, burly, a tough cookie, as unan- 
nounced as a commando, so that if this were 
an ambush you had laid for him you would be 
unprepared. The American ambassador, Wil- 
liam Brewer, despite the heat and the tedium 
of his four-year stint in Khartoum, twice a 
day would make a run for it from his car in- 
to the lobby of the embassy building down- 
town, with his life like a football tucked under 
his arm, mindful that his predecessor, Am- 
bassador Cleo Noel, had been shot dead by 
Black Septembrists in the job. 

The EPLF enrolled women in its ranks, a9 
the sheikh said the ELF did not. Several of 
them, uniformed in baggy fatigues, jumped in 



the looped trenches to pose with the men for 
Izz Abdel's camera. The sheikh gestured sar- 
castic illy at the Ethiopians* breastworks as he 
led us around, and at the low buildings that 
had served as their barracks, holding his nose 
as if at the stench. A male nurse-midwife who 
had learned English in school introduced him- 
self, telling me he was a Christian, but here 
was his best friend, who was a Muslim and 
fought alongside him. Here was a soldier who 
admired the Communism of Peking, but here 
was another who liked the Congress of the 
United States and wished Eritrea to have 
something like that. "We are many kinds of 
people," he said, "and we are not paid to fight 
for our country. The Ethiopians are paid." 

Briskly we climbed the spur dominating the 
helicopter pad to see the big Korean war-type 
machine gun whose capture had meant so 
much. We went, too, to visit the ELF ranch- 
house up the valley, and clambered to their 
best redoubt — although no matter how high 
we scrambled, always another guerrilla stood 
up above us waving his Kalashnikov. Bashir 
Abdul Kadar had changed into a khaki uni- 
form and was lecturing a class of herd boys. 
All told, I was touched, and later did write a 
squib about the Eritreans for the New York 
Times, so as not to feel I had imbibed their 
tea and hospitality under false pretenses. 

Within a few weeks, as they had hoped, 
Nakfa fell. Then during the spring and sum- 
mer and early fall the Eritreans took the cities 
of Keren, Tessenei, and Agordat, until by 
late 1977, with only their intended capital 
of A smara and the fortified ports of Massawa 
and Assab remaining in Ethiopian hands, Pres- 
ident Numeiri of the Sudan, working along- 
side the Saudis — who said that they were pre- 
pared to bankroll sufficient weapons purchases 
to change the character of the guerrillas' war 
— finally forced the EPLF and ELF to merge. 
They had already coordinated the best se- 
quences of their attack with the rolling offen- 
sive of the Somali Army and Somali Western 
Liberation Front in the Ogaden Desert in 
southern Ethiopia. In fact they had captured 
95 percent of Eritrea. This was the period — 
before the intervention of Russian generals 
using Cuban troops — when the Dergue was 
running into disastrous logistical difficulties as 
it shifted from American to Soviet arms. Both 
its regular army and the gigantic Peasant Ar- 
my conscripted for a holy war against the 
Muslims were routed. Afterward, remember- 
ing my exuberant hosts at Karora — most of 
them purist Marxists young enough to be my 
sons — I thought that what must have pained 
and bewildered and disillusioned them the 
most was not that Russian MiGs serviced and 



flown by Communists supplanted the familiar 
American jets serviced by Israeli mechanics 
that for years had been bombing them. Russia, 
having been expelled from its port facilities 
in Somalia, needed a new port; and now Is- 
rael was providing cluster bombs for the MiGs. 
The idea of a cynical and overlapping hege- 
mony of the Great Powers, if they so inter- 
preted it, would not have been a bone to choke 
on. Rather, the arrival of Cuban mountain 
fighters, guerrillas like themselves, the heirs 
of Che Guevara — guerrillas like the Vietcong 
— moving into the hills to break the siege of 
Asmara and defeat their fight for self-rule 
must have nearly broken their hearts. 

Y nightfall we were safely ensconced 

Bin our Land Rover again, exhausted, 
relieved, and heading back. Our head- 
lights occasionally picked out the 
white bodies of camels that had been at rest 
by the side of the path and now heaved to their 
feet — once a family of hyenas trotting. 

A peculiarity of this part of the world is 
that the most extreme flip-flops of allegiance 
are accomplished so cavalierly, without em- 
barrassment. The show of consistency charac- 
teristic of Asian, European, and even South 
American leaders — rightists to the Right, left- 
ists to the Left — appears to have no force. 
The Libyans and South Yemenites who had 
supported the Eritreans against the Dergue in 
this same year now supported the Dergue 
against the Eritreans — but through no sudden 
hope of territorial gain for themselves, no par- 
ticular change in the respective positions of ei- 
ther the Marxist Eritreans or Marxist Dergue. 

"We don't have a 'Right' or 'Left' in Africa. 
Don't you understand that? We are a new con- 
tinent. That is a concept of you Europeans," 
Izz Abdel argued. 

I pointed out that even the exigencies of the 
Vietnam war had not allayed the ancient sus- 
picion of the North Vietnamese for China; and 
yet the Libyans and the South Yemenites had 
contrived to switch sides like changing a shirt. 
Did they believe in conspiracies to the exclu- 
sion of every other factor in politics? 

"They are Communists," he laughed. "No, 
you are right. We are tribal. It is true, unfortu- 
nately. We make alliances that last for a rainy 
season. But you are mistaken if you think the 
Libyans will ever love the Ethiopians." 

Along about 2:00 a.m. we got mired in mud. 
We had bumped down into the trench of a 
watercour-e, following the marks of a wide- 
axled lorry, and found that the squalls in the 
mountains had turned the bottom into a baby 
swamp. Our wheels could neither fit into the 



truck's tracks nor spin free of them. We could 
see the fires of two nomad families camped 
separately against the slope of a jebel that rose 
several hundred yards off to our east, and 
another fire a mile away on the opposite ridge. 
These were big fires because the hyenas emerge 
at night, scouting for a goat or a camel foal. 
Izz Abdel, who could sound ingratiating and 
self-important in the same breath, had a prov- 
erb for every event. He sang a plaintive folk 
ditty about a beggar boy on a journey who 
asks for help from anybody within hearing, 
loud enough so that somebody might come 
and help us push. 

Though his voice carried well, the tribesmen 
did not respond; only their dogs ran out. 
George and I, who had remained out of temper 
with each other, picked up stones to throw at 
the dogs, but Izz Abdel said no. "The tales 
you hear in London about stoning fierce dogs 
in the Middle East are wrong. If you stone 
them, they will run at you." 

We had eaten the last of our food, except 
that by feeling around under the seat he came 
up with a stray black thumb-sized banana. 
"Now I am a rich man!" he cried to himself. 
Rather, he sang it, and gave thanks to God, 
though we were by no means yet famished. 

We had been watching Abdullah dig — 
George cursing him for slowness again. And 
we shoved at the vehicle ourselves, in a swarm 
of malarious mosquitos, standing in a spongy 
streambed that quite likely contained the race 
of snails which harbor the grim trematodes 
that cause the blood-sapping disease known 
as bilharzia. The longer we stayed stuck, the 
more mosquitoes bit us, but the more we 
floundered in the mud to free ourselves, the 
worse our chances were of. exposure to bil- 
harzia. Nor were we entirely eager to have 
our human neighbors materialize, because 
this was supposed to be bandit country. 

Izz Abdel, as we struggled with fender and 
bumper, loosened up enough to mention pol- 
itics, which ordinarily he would not. "Up with 
Numeiri!" he exclaimed — grinning because he 
was being bold with me. "Up with Numeiri, 
hey? Straight up to heaven, and the sooner 
the better!" 

Then our luck turned. Two white figures 
loomed up on camelback. They were Bani- 
Amer boys riding home from a dance in snowy 
robes. Nevertheless, they kindly dismounted 
and lent us a hand that made all the difference. 

"No, no," Abdel corrected himself cautious- 
ly afterward, as we bumped past Tokar in 
the dawn, aiming for Port Sudan. "He's a good 
man. Numeiri's a good man. He has tried to 
rush a poor country along too fast. That's why 
things go wrong." He gave a harsh laugh. □ 



.'HE CANOLOGICAL INSTITUTE 



short story 



by Jaroslav Hasek 



Fi 
: 



OR AS long as I can remember, I have 
been fascinated by animals. At a ten- 
der age I used to bring borne mice, 
and played for days on end with dead 
its. I also used to be interested in snakes. One 
me I caught some kind of big snake on a 
»cky hillside and I was about to bring it borne 
id put it in my aunt's bed; fortunately, the 
inic warden happened to come by and took 
away from me so that he could turn it in for 
reward. In my teens, I developed a taste for 
igger creatures, such as camels and elephants, 
nd I longed to own a ranch and raise horses 
r cattle. 

When I reached thirty, I had to abandon 
lese daydreams and think in more realistic 
;rms. My relatives complained about my un- 
sttled life, and pointed out with increasing 
ancor my failure to make a decent living. 
V^itli sudden resolution, I announced that in 
iew of my long-standing inclination toward 
nimals I would open a pet shop and specialize 
n dogs. The family didn't seem pleased. 



II 

In starting a new business, the first essen- 
ial step is to choose a descriptive and mean- 
ingful name. "Pet Shop" or "Dog Shop" 
lidn't appeal to me, for it was my intention 
:o conduct my business on the highest possible 
Diane. I consulted the dictionary, and came 
icross the word canology, which means "the 
scientific study of dogs." Then I happened to 
pass by the Agricultural Institute and every- 
hing fell into place: I would call my enter- 
prise the Canological Institute. It was indeed 
a proud and learned title. As I noted in my 
advertisements, it designated "the breeding, 
sale, exchange, and purchase of dogs con- 
ducted on modern canological principles." 

I must admit that when I read and reread 
my own impressive advertisements, in which 
the expression "Canological Institute" ap- 
peared on every line, I was moved to happy 
admiration. At last, I am the owner of an Insti- 
tute! The pride, the delight that such knowl- 
edge brings has to be experienced to be un- 
derstood. In the ads I promised expert advice 



on all matters relating to dogs. With every 
dozen dogs, one puppy given away free. A dog 
is the most appropriate gift for birthdays, con- 
firmations, weddings, anniversaries. For chil- 
dren, a dog is the one toy that is truly un- 
breakable. A devoted companion. All types of 
dogs in stock. Direct connection with all for- 
eign countries. Obedience training. Where to 
board your dog during vacations? In the Can- 
ological Institute. Where does your dog learn 
to beg in just three hours? In the Canological 
Institute. When one of my uncles read these 
advertisements, he shook his head: "No, my 
boy, you are not well, definitely not." 

But I faced the future with great hopes. Not 
having purchased a single dog so far, I waited 
for orders; and in the meantime I put a help- 
wanted ad in the paper for a hard-working, 
honest clerk. 

Ill 

^^^Mfin. U), headed "Clerk Wanted — Breed- 
&y ing & Sale of Dogs," brought in scores 

of responses. One retired policeman 
promised that in the event that he got 
the position he would teach all the dogs to 
jump over a cane and to walk upside clown. 

Another wrote that he had thorough expe- 
rience with dogs, having been employed in a 
municipal dog pound. His service had been 
terminated after several years because of ex- 
cessive kindness to the animals. 

One applicant confused a canological insti- 
tute with a gynecological one, and described 
his knowledge of female diseases. 

Fifteen candidates had law degrees, twelve 
were qualified teachers. One letter came from 
the Association for the Advancement of Re- 
leased Convicts, informing me that a hard- 
working and reliable former bank robber was 
available. 

Some of the letters were quite sad and hope- 
less. They would begin: "Although I know that 
I will be rejected for this position . . ." 

Among the correspondents were persons 
who knew Spanish, English, French, Turkish, 
Russian, Polish, and Danish. 

One letter was in Latin. 

And then came a simple but sincere note: 



Jaroslav Hasek, author 
of the Czech classic The 
Good Soldier Schweik 
and hundreds of comic 
sketches for newspapers 
and magazines, died in 
1923. This story was 
translated by Peter 
Kussi, who has trans- 
lated fiction, nonfiction, 
and poetry by Czecho- 
slovakian writers, most 
recently The Farewell 
Party, by Milan Kun- 
dera. 



55 



"Dear Sir: When shall I start? Sincerely, 
Ladislav Cizek." In response to such a direct 
question, I had no choice but to reply that he 
should come at eight o'clock in the morning 
on W ednesday. I was very grateful to. him for 
having freed me of the lengthy and bothersome 
job of screening applicants. 

Thus, on \^ ednesday morning my clerk 
started his duties. He turned out to be a short 
man. with a face pitted by smallpox scars, full 
of energy. When he met me, he squeezed my 
hand and said gaily, "'The weather won't get 
any better by tomorrow, and did you hear 
that we had another trolley-car accident, down 
on Pilsen Street?" Then he pulled out a short 
pipe, informed me that he smoked Hungarian 
tobacco, and that the barmaid at Banzet's tav- 
ern was called Pepina. Then he began to dis- 
cuss a certain terrier that he thought worth 
purchasing, though it might be necessary to 
dye him and to shorten his legs. 

"You know a lot about dogs?" I asked hap- 
pily. 

"You bet. I used to sell dogs myself: that s 
why I had all that trouble with the law. One 
time I w as taking this boxer home with me and 
all of a sudden a gentleman stopped me, yell- 
ing it was his dog. that he lost him two hours 
before in Ovocna Street. Shall I look around 
for a dog?" 

"No, Cizek, my business will be strictly 
honest. We ll wait for customers, and in the 
meantime let's look in the papers to see if any- 
body has dogs for sale. Look here, a lady 
wants to sell a white spitz, because of limited 
space. Do spitzes really take up so much room? 
All right, you go to this address and buy it. 
I am giving you thirty Crowns." 

He left, assuring me that he would be right 
back: he returned in three hours, in a terrible 
state. His derby was pushed over his ears, he 
swayed from side to side as if he were in the 
midst of a storm at sea. He was firmly clutch- 
ing a rope that was trailing behind him. I 
looked at the end of the rope: there was noth- 
ing there. 

"Well — how do you like — a nice animal, 
eh? — I am late — look at his ears — come on. 
you little bastard — she didn't want to sell 
him. . ." 

Suddenly he turned around and looked at 
the end of the rope. He stared at it in amaze- 
ment, took it in his hand, felt the frayed 
strands in disbelief, then belched. "An hour 
ago — he was still — there. . ." 

He sat down on a chair but fell off at once, 
and clutching my legs for support he managed 
to climb to a standing position. Then he said 
triumphantly, as if he had just discovered 
something fabulous: "He must have run away. " 



So ended Cizek's first assignment on hiM. 
new job. 

When he woke up, he decided to make ail 
attempt to redeem himself. "I'll have thaft 
dog here in an hour,"' he said. 

And he was true to his word. He came bad 
in less than an hour, quite sober and out o: 
breath. To my great surprise he was dragging 
behind him a black spitz. 

"\ou rascal," I shouted, "that lady adver- 
tised a white spitz, not a black one! " For a 
few moments, he seemed confused and gazed 
at the dog uneasily, and then without a word 
he departed with the animal. 

He came back two hours later with a dirty, 
mud-spattered white spitz, which was wildly 
tugging at the leash. 

"That was a small mistake," said Cizek, 
"That lady had two spitzes, a white one and a 
black one. She was quite pleased when I 
brought the other one back." 

I looked at the new dog's identification tag; 
it was from out of town. I thought I might 
break down and cry, but I managed to calm 
myself. That night I was awakened by a 
scratching on the door. It w as the black spitz, 
jumping joyfully and barking as I let him in. 
He must have liked our place and missed us. 
In any case, we now had two dogs, and all we 
needed was a customer. 

IV 

A customer came in the morning, at 
ten o'clock. He looked around the 
k apartment and asked: "Where are 
your dogs?" 
"We don't keep them here," I said, "ex- 
cept for two spitzes which I am training: but 
those have already been promised to the arch- 
duke. We keep our dogs in the country, so 
that they get plenty of fresh air and aren't 
bothered by insects or smallpox, which is a 
big problem here in the city. One of the basic 
principles of our Canological Institute is to 
provide all our dogs with the greatest possible 
freedom. In the country, where we have our 
kennels, our people let the animals out in the 
morning to run in the fields and they are not 
brought back till evening. This has the added 
advantage that the animals learn independence; 
they hunt for their own food in the preserves 
that we rent out. Sometimes it s quite comical 
to watch a little toy poodle wrestle with a 
rabbit." 

The gentleman seemed to like what he heard, 
for he nodded his head and said: 

"I suppose vou also sell vicious dogs, 
trained as watchdogs?" 

"Certainly. I have s6me animals in stock 
which are so vicious that I cannot even supply 



you with their pictures — no photographer 
would dare come near them. I have several 
dogs with documented records of having torn 
thieves to pieces." 

"" Tliat's exactly what 1 am looking for," the 
customer said. '"I am in the lumber business, 
and now in winter I'd like to get a good reli- 
able watchdog. Can you have one brought over 
here by tomorrow, so that I can come and look 
him over?" 

"Certainly, sir, I'll send my man over right 
now to get him. Cizek!" 

He came in, smiling pleasantly. 

"Cizek," I said, winking, "please go and 
bring back that awfully vicious watchdog, you 
know the one I mean. What's his name again?" 

"Fabian," Cizek answered with icy calm. 
"His mother was Hexa. He really is quite an 
animal. Once he killed and ate two children 
who tried to climb on his back. Now as far as 
the deposit. . ." 

"Oh yes, of course," the customer said. 
iHere i> forty Crowns. What will the dog come 
to, by the way?" 

"One hundred Crowns," Cizek answered. 
"We also have a cheaper one, you can have 
that one for eighty Crowns but it isn't nearly 
so ferocious. As I recall, it never did anything 
worse than bite off the hand of one man who 
tried to pet it." 

"No, I want the other one." 

Cizek departed in search of a watchdog. He 
returned in the evening with a huge, melan- 
choly monster of a dog that barely seemed to 
be dragging itself along. 

""What kind of corpse is that!" I shouted. 

"He is cheap, though," said Cizek. "I met 
a butcher who was just taking him to the 
pound because he wouldn't pull the meat cart 
anymore and was beginning to bite. I think 
he'll make a fine watchdog. Besides, some 
smart thief will most likely poison him and the 
gentleman will come back to us to buy a new 
one." 

We discussed this for a while, then Cizek 
brushed the dog and cooked him some rice 
and meat. The animal ate two potfuls and 
still looked as sad and bedraggled as ever. He 
licked our shoes, walked aimlessly around the 
room, and seemed to regret that the pound 
had not put an end to his troubles. 

Cizek made a last-ditch effort to add some 
viciousness to the dog's aspect. He was a kind 
of nondescript yellow and gray, and Cizek 
painted some big black stripes over him that 
made him resemble a hyena. 

When the lumber dealer came the next day 
and saw the dog, he jumped back in alarm. 

"What a frightful creature!" he shouted. 

"He won't bother anyone he knows. His 



name is Fox — go ahead, you can pet him." 

The customer refused to come near, so fi- 
nally we had to drag him toward the monster 
and force him to touch the terrible-looking fur. 

The dog promptly licked his hand and left 
with the new master like a lamb. By the follow- 
ing morning, the lumberyard had been robbed 
bare. 



Christmas WAS approaching, and we 
had dyed the black spitz yellow with 
the aid of hydrogen peroxide, while 
silver nitrate turned the other spitz 
jet black. 

In addition to these two dogs, we now had 
a wealth of puppies, for Cizek suffered under 
the delusion that puppies bring happiness and 
prosperity and he was forever bringing more 
in the bulging pockets of his winter overcoat. 
I sent for a bulldog, and he brought me Aire- 
dale pups; I sent him to fetch a Doberman, he 
returned with a newborn fox terrier. Alto- 
gether, we now had thirty pups and we had 
paid deposits on 120 more. 

One day, I got an excellent idea: We would 
rent a store just before Christmastime, put a 
tree in the window, and sell puppies decorated 
with gay ribbons. We'd put up signs to the 
effect that "A healthy puppy makes a happy 
Christmas for your children." 

About a week before the holidays, I rented 
a vacant store. 

"Cizek," I said, "take the pups over to the 
store, buy a nice big tree, get some moss, and 
arrange the whole thing tastefully. Under- 
stand?" 

"Of course. You can count on me." He 
trundled the puppies away on a handcart and 
in the afternoon I went downtown to inspect 
Cizek's handiwork. 

A big throng of people in front of the store 
indicated that the puppies had created con- 
siderable interest. But when I got closer I 
heard furious shouts from the crowd: "This 
cruelty is unheard of!" "Where are the po- 
lice?" "I am amazed that such things are per- 
mitted!" 

When I succeeded in elbowing my way to 
the store window, my legs almost buckled 
under me. 

Cizek had strung about a dozen puppies on 
the branches of a big tree, as if they were 
Christmas decorations. The poor creatures 
hung there with their tongues protruding, like 
criminals on a medieval gibbet. And under- 
neath there was a sign: '"Buy a Happy Christ- 
mas Puppy for Your Child." 

That was the end of the Canological In- 
stitute. □ 




A' 



HARPER'S 
JULY 1978 



57 



MORE 




ATHOLIC 



THAN THE POPE 



Archbishop Lefebvre and a romance of the one true Church by Mary Gordon 



Mary Gordon is the au- 
thor of the recently 
published novel Final 
Payments. 




HILE standing in the lobby 
of the administration build- 
ing of a moderately sized 
Catholic college, I saw a re- 
cruitment poster for an order 
of nuns that said, in those 
light, slanty letters that are 
supposed to indicate modern 
spirituality: are you looking for an alter- 
nate life-style? Kind of like looking for 
Mr. Goodbar. Out of the closet and over the 
wall. It is not the Church of my childhood, 
that repository of language never to be used 
again, words white-flat and crafted: "mon- 
strance," "chasuble"; words shaped to fit into 
each other like spoons, words that overlap and 
do not overlap, words that mark a way of life 
that has a word for every mode, a category 
for each situation: "gifts of the Holy Ghost," 
"corporal works of mercy," "capital sins," 
"cardinal virtues." 

Surely there is no romance like the romance 
of a lost order, no desire like the desire For 
distinguished exile. It is not American, this 
image of exclusion and trial by fire. America 
deals with its dissidents like a rich and clever 
mother: she insists upon the embrace, either 
bought by the careful gift or yearned for on 
the part of the child who can no longer bear 
neglect from such a worldly bosom, from a 
mother so absorbed in her own activity that 
she forgets her banished young. The Amer- 
ican exile must cross the ocean for distinction: 



he will probably come back. The European 
exile sits on the doorstep of his next-door 
neighbor, sullen, hypnotized by plots and the- 
ories of conspiracy. 



A French genl 



lit 



arcel lefebvre has the face 
of the born exile. He looks 
out at us from the newspa- 
pers, exhausted, finely made. 
He is not Irish; he is not 
Italian: neither Bing Crosby 
nor John XXIII. He looks 
even sadder than Paul VI, 
and thinner, and more exhausted. He is a gen- 
tleman, a quality one is not supposed to yearn 
for in successors to the Apostles. There is a 
story about one of the Cecils who came home 
sporting a beard to the outrage of his father, 
who told him that gentlemen never wore 
beards. "But." his son objected, "Our Lord 
wore a beard." " Our Lord." his father said, 
"was not a gentleman." Archbishop Lefebvre 
is, and a French gentleman. There are those of 
us who fear we would have fared badly in the 
company of Peter, but know we would have 
been a smash with one of the Medici rjopes. 
Lefebvre suggests La vieille Europe: chateaux 
silver, ancient and perfect servants, a chapel 



38 



y r the tennis courts, where one could con- 
U to one's impeccable chaplain one's latest 
|f scretion with the young gardener and be 
\\ that sins of the flesh are not central to 

I spiritual life; where it will be suggested 
jj ; among people of consequence these things 
j| bound to occur. 

.efebvre's publicity has come to him chiefly 

II ause he has insisted upon saying mass in 
| in, against the orders of the Second Vat- 
11 i Council. At first glance, it seems a mon- 
E us punishment: typical of the rigidity of 
|j Church of Rome. Why should Lefebvre be 
E ;iplined for saying mass in Latin, accord- 
H to the old rite, the rite established by the 
P mcil of Trent in the sixteenth century? 
I pone who has gone anywhere near Catholics 
(J he past knows that dissatisfaction with the 
L rgy is enormous. The new mass is piece- 
| al, tentative, on the whole a botched job. 
1 ebvre seems to be standing for a kind of 
I ity, aesthetic and spiritual, that was lost 
| the Church in the '60s in its lust to make 
4 for lost time, to become — that word we 
I e to hate — relevant, to join the twentieth 
1 itury in all its least satisfying aspects. 

; But when one looks into Lefebvre's case, it 
i ickly becomes obvious that the Latin mass 
the merest symbol of what the archbishop 
jects to. He is against his age. His rhetoric 
i desperate, and it has the excitement of des- 
| ration. It has the excitement, too, of an ar- 
aism revivified: it is the language of a con- 
it, but a conflict that seems ancient, and 
! nsequently grand. His metaphors are sexual 
d pestilential. He speaks of "'the cancer of 
! eralism." He refers to his detractors as 
[ lercenaries, wolves, and thieves." He de- 
ribes ecumenism as "confusion through bas- 
-dization." But he does not stop there: he 
ikes his metaphor an elaborate conceit, 
ou cannot marry truth and error," he said 
a sermon delivered in Lille in 1976, "be- 
use that is like adultery, and the child will 
a bastard — a bastard rite for mass, bastard 
craments, and bastard priests." 
Bastard. Bdtard. How exciting, from the 
outh of an archbishop. The world is serious; 
e truth is obvious; the lines are clear. The 
Drds suggest the kind of wrongheaded her- 
sm that makes conservatives attractive when 
ey seem to be directing the finest possible 
splay of arms toward a target that is so re- 
ote from the real business of the world that 
r en their hitting the target is no danger. The 
chbishop, for example, is a bug on Free- 
asonry. "They celebrate Black Masses and 
•e in league with the devil." With the devil? 
hose square guys with their rings and pins 
lat go to conventions and have scholarship 



funds? It is a French hobbyhorse, and it has 
the charm of a foreign obsession. 

Another of Lefebvre's targets is what he calls 
"Modernism. " To most of us, it is as puzzling 
an enemy as Freemasonry. Who uses the word 
but literary scholars, speaking of Pound and 
Joyce? Modernism is one of those threats to 
the health of the Church that people stopped 
talking about in the late '50s. It used to mean, 
to the hierarchy of the clergy who were our 
particular guardians against it, liberalism, 
atheism, socialism, democracy. It led to Com- 
munism; it enshrined the human reason. It 
said that truth was not absolute, was not ob- 
jective. It believed in change, in progress, in 
metamorphosis through historical develop- 
ment. Modernism is not an identifiable move- 
ment: it is a term invented by the enemy, and 
so it has a shifting meaning. Pius X, pope 
from 1903 to 1914, wrote the definitive attack 
on modernism in his encyclical Pascendi Dom- 
inici Gregis: On the Doctrine of the Mod- 
ernists (1907). But he did not name names. 
Lefebvre's society, the Society of St. Pius X, 
is named after this pope, who is also known 
as "The Scourge of Modernism." 

If St. Pius X is Lefebvre's hero, his villains 
are Luther, and especially Descartes, Voltaire, 
and Rousseau. His view of history is centered 
on the French Revolution. The world, for Le- 
febvre, has steadily declined since 1789. He 
sees as evidence of the decadence of the re- 
cent papacy the last two popes' having spoken 
of The Declaration of the Rights of Man as a 
conquest for humanity. I am struck by Lefeb- 
vre's insistence that it is the French Revolution 
that destroyed the world. It is not a position 
that has even occurred to me; it is not some- 
thing I have ever heard anyone say. I am 
struck as well by the French ness of Lefeb- 
vre's position. In February, 1977, when fol- 
lowers of Lefebvre took over the French Cath- 
olic church of St. Nicholas du Chardonnet, 
they were led by priests crying, "Catholic and 
French forever." 

Politically, Lefebvre is a monarchist. That 
position has, again, the charm of the impos- 
sible. What American can be threatened by 
the idea of a king? Kings are for cartoons, 
or caricature. Artists put crowns on Nixon to 
show his absurdity, to take away his sting. A 
picture begins to emerge of a man who loves 
tradition, and order, and certainty, and au- 
thority. He is a man who loves the pleasure 
of the hierarchy. And so, his relationship with 
the Pope and the hierarchy of the Church is 
puzzling. For who, if not the Pope, represents 
authority? And in what body does hierarchy 
survive with greater health in our age than in 
the body of the Church? 



'I am struck by 
Lefebvre's 
insistence that 
it is the French 
Revolution 
that destroyed 
the world." 



59 



Mary Gordon 
MORE 

CATHOLIC 
THAN 

THE POPE 



efebvre's troubles with 
Church authorities began in 
1974. In 1970 he was given 
official sanction to begin the 
Society of St. Pius X, a so- 
ciety of priests whose bent 
was traditionalist. The so- 
ciety was centered in Econe, 
Switzerland. Soon a seminary was opened. Its 
style was strictly preconciliar. The Second 
Vatican Council emphasized the importance 
of the Church's coming to terms with the mod- 
ern world by being open to it. The curric- 
ulum of Lefebvre's seminary, mostly in Latin, 
stressed Scholasticism, the system of Thomas 
Aquinas. The study of "modern thought" was 
forbidden. "Modern philosophies," the arch- 
bishop declared, "prepare the cult of man and 
this is irreconcilable with Christianity." He 
asserted that a Catholic's concern must be with 
the world beyond. 

Lefebvre's seminary was astonishingly suc- 
cessful. At a time when seminaries all over 
the world were closing for lack of candidates, 
Lefebvre had to turn people away. The news 
of the seminary's success reached Rome, and, 
in November, 1974, two ecclesiastics, one a for- 
mer rector of Louvain University, were sent 
by the Vatican to investigate. Stories of that 
visit vary; some say that the former rector 
challenged important dogmas, such as the Res- 
urrection of Christ; others hint that Lefeb- 
vre was told that if he simply celebrated one 
mass in the new rite while the emissaries were 
at the seminary, he would be left alone. In any 
case, the archbishop refused to say mass the 
new way, and the clerics left in a huff, in- 
censed at the archbishop's arrogance. Shortly 
after their departure, Lefebvre issued a strong- 
ly worded statement that stressed the sem- 
inary's loyalty to the Church while protesting 
against "neo-Modernist" and "neo-Protestant" 
tendencies that had become part of the Church 
since the council. 

In 1975, Pope Paul VI wrote Lefebvre two 
personal letters asking him to conform to the 
decisions of the Vatican Council: both the li- 
turgical changes in the mass (not only the 
change from Latin to the vernacular, but im- 
portant changes of diction whose implications 
were doctrinal, such as "This blood will be 
shed for you and for many" being changed to 
"This blood will be shed for you and for all 
men"), and the Church's new position on re- 
ligious liberty and the necessity of separating 
Church and State. 

Lefebvre did not even respond to the Pope's 
second letter. This was probably a tactical er- 
ror, for the Vatican soon canceled its canon- 
ical endorsement of the seminary. However, 



although the Pope can forbid a bishop to J 
dain priests, as he has done in Lefebvre's cM 
he cannot make the ordinations invalid. E 1 
the Pope cannot take a bishop's rank fr 
him; the Pope, as the Bishop of Rome, is 
ally only a "brother bishop." So, although 
febvre was suspended "a divinis" that is, 
was forbidden to exercise his priestly 
episcopal function, the priests he ordains 
defiance of the Church's order are considei 
by the Church true priests. In June, 1976, 
febvre ordained thirteen priests and thirte 
subdeacons. It is estimated that these prie 
serve a congregation of 60,000: 50,000 
Europe and 10,000 here. 

The Vatican response to the ordination v, 
dramatic. Pope Paul was harsh in his pub 
condemnation of Lefebvre — far harsher, 
fact, than he has been to those who challen 
the Church from the Left. No bishop in tl 
century has been censured as Lefebvre 1 
been. Two paradoxes, then, emerge. One 
that the Roman Catholic Church, traditior 
bastion of the Right, seems far more comfo 
able with the Left in this decade than it do 
with extreme conservatives. The other is til 
the only real schism to afflict the Church, 
spite the upheaval generated by the Secoi 
Vatican Council, comes not from the Left, 
from Dutch theologians with their Marx: 
sympathies and their relativist stand on mors 
and scriptural interpretation, but from a ti 
ditionalist French bishop who obeys too lit( 
ally the dicta of the past popes.* Connect* 
with this is the anomaly that a leader of tl 
rebellion is one whose world view indicat 
that he values obedience to authority and co 
nection to tradition so highly that when 1 
sees the Church breaking with tradition 1 
breaks with the Church. 

And so Vincident Lefebvre engages m 
imagination. It inspires in me an embarras 
ing richness of nostalgic fantasy: sung Gr 
gorian Masses, priests in gold, the silence ( 
Benediction, my own sense of sanctity as a 
eight-year-old carrying a lily among a hui 
dred other eight-year-olds on Holy Thursday 
The society sparks the romance of a lost cause 
perhaps the least dangerous romance of all. 
imagine Lefebvre a gallant, clerical Charle 
Boyer, bathed in a clarifying bitterness. Whe; 
I learn that he has dedicated a chapel in Oyi 
ter Bay, Long Island, I am interested. I imag 
ine a new brand of American conservative 
priest. God knows there has been no dearth o 
conservative Catholic priests, but they havi 

* The late Reverend Leonard Feeney started a sin 
ilar right-wing schism in the '50s by upholding lit 
eral interpretation of the doctrine "Outside th 
Church there is no salvation." 



60 



een of the beefy John Wayne or the florid 
Hope variety, hysterical about sex and 
imunism, with a lousy sense of pulpit or- 
y. 1 imagine I will find in Oyster Bay a 
ip of priests superbly educated on the 
ich model Latinists, Scholastics, w itli per- 
. an «-\pert on Palestrina in the group. But 
e i« more: I grew up on Long Island 
Og radically conservative Catholics, and 
e i- a particular aptness for me in the co- 
lence of a movement that embodies what 



I have left and lost being placed in the | > 1 > \ - - 
ical world of my childhood. 1 feel 1 must write 
about these people; I so nearly could have 
been one of them. 

1 tell my friends I am going out there. My 
friends are worried. They kiss me on the fore- 
head before I leave, a- if they are afraid they 
will not see me again, as if they are seeing 
me off on a voyage of indeterminate length 
and destination in a vessel whose seaworthi- 
ness 1 1 1 > - v -c] ioush doubt. 



.MiHiiiMiUiin 




61 



Mary Gordon 
MORE 
CATHOLIC 
THAN 
THE POPE 



II 



Articles of faith 




give 



me over the 



YSTER bay is about half an 
hour from my mother"* home, 
in the town where I grew up. 
My mother drives me to the 
train. She, too. is nervous. 
"Don't get in over your 
head," she says, a piece of 
advice she has continued to 
vears with an astonishing 



lack of despair. My mother has railed against 
the changes in the mass every" Sunday since 
1964. but she wouldn't dream of disobeying 
the Pope. '"Who the hell do they think they 
are?" is her comment on the Lefebvrists. My 
mother, who. like the devil, can quote Scrip- 
ture to her own ends — although, being a Cath- 
olic, she does it rarely — draws herself up as 
she does for such an occasion and says, "Be- 
hold thou art Peter and upon this rock I shall 
build my church." and then, snorting as she 
does when she is particularly sure of herself, 
says, "Who do they think they're kidding?" 

I get off the train at Oyster Bay and look 
around for a taxi. The taxis are parked behind 
a trailer. I knock on the door and tell the man 
where I want to go. He is one of those Paul 
Robeson types of black men by whom I feel 
entirely protected. He says, "Isn't that one of 
those new churches people are always starting 
up?" He tells me that the headquarters of the 
society is the old Woodward estate. The So- 
ciety of St. Pius X bought the estate in 1977 
for $250,000, anticipating that it would serve 
a regular congregation of 600. Zoning reg- 
ulations, however, prevent the society from of- 
fering public mass there on Sunday: residents 
feared problems with parking and traffic. 

\^ illiam \^ oodward. one of the \S oolworth 
heirs, was shot on this property in 1955 by his 
wife, who mistook him for a burglar. The plot 
thickens like a custard: the romance clusters 
coalesce. I imagine Simone Signoret pacing 
the grounds in a state of drunken mourning. 
I am worried for the taxi driver. I imagine 
the place surrounded by uniformed guards 
who will insult him. At the same time. I have 
a wild desire to ask him to wait for me: I'm 
afraid I'll never come out again. 

At the door. I have my first disappointment. 
Just below the threshold there is a piece of 
yellow-orange indoor-outdoor carpeting. It is 
not the fabric of my fantasies, but I wipe my 
feet on it anyway, determined to ingratiate 
myself. The door is answered by a beautiful 



black woman who does not meet my eye 
tells me I am early. I do not think I am ear 
but I do not want to argue. I am probal 
congenitally incapable of arguing with anyo 
who might be a nun. and this woman is we. 
ing a long black dress. Her hair is invisi 
under a blue scarf. She tells me to wait in t 
parlor, that she will get "Father." Women w\ 
work with priests tend to refer to the prit 
simply as "Father." the way nurses refer 
physicians as "Doctor," as in "Doctor will 
right with you." 

Alone in the parlor. I feel instantly guill 
and yet determined, from the depths of 
wickedness, to find some hidden clue befo 
I speak to the priest. \^ hen he comes to 
door. I am scanning the bookshelves for si 
nificant titles. It is not a good beginning. 

I am shocked that this is the man they ha 
elected to talk to me. He is no more than 
boy, with that impossible, untouched, virgir 
complexion I expect on no one over sixtee 
He is boyish, but it is a civilized boyishne 
He offers to show me around. A measure of 
alienation from the Church is that I have nev 
spoken to a priest who was younger than 

He takes me first, as propriety would d 
mand. to the chapel. The stained-glass windo 
is nineteenth-century and unremarkable 
there is a fine piece, a papal seat, which t 
priest tells me is fourteenth-century. The n 
going up to the altar is a fake Oriental, 
make a mental note to talk seriously to the: 
about carpeting. 

Father takes me down to the huge indo< 
tennis court, which he tells me they are usi 
for storage. They have bought out a lot 
religious supply houses that, he says, 
wiped out by the Second Vatican Counci 
\^ hen I see what they have bought out. 
nearly ill with disappointment: the tennis cou 
is full of those mass-produced, entirely undi 
tinguished. entirely undifferentiatable statut 
that adorned every church built in Americ 
before 1955. Virgins on globes stand with 
pents between their toes. Christ fingers h 
bleeding heart. It was precisely this kind c 
mediocrity that gave anyone with an eye so 
ond thoughts about the Church. He shows m 
stacks of missals they bought, missals that b< 
came useless when the mass was said in Enj 
lish. He tells me they bought out the compan 
that made St. Joseph Missals. I had one: I r« 
member the glossy photographs beside apprc 
priate feast days, the work of an artist wh 
probably spent his secular life drawing fo 
Ivory Snow. Before I know what I am savin 
I exclaim. "But St. Joseph Missals were th 
tackiest of any of them." "Tacky?" he says 
looking puzzled. I am again disappointed: 



62 



I annot take seriously the spiritual life of any- 
lone for whom "the tacky" is not a lively con- 
I ept. "It's not the sort of thing we worry 
I ibout," he says, walking up the stairs in front 
jl )f me. "We are interested in building devotion 
|| n the hearts of the people." We return to the 
I iving room. We take out my tape recorder. It 
I s clearly a procedure he is used to. 

I ask about his childhood. Disappointingly. 
| t sounds like the Catholic version of Andy 
Hardy's. He is from Detroit; his father is an 
J iccountant, his mother a housewife. Both par- 
ents went to Catholic colleges, his father to 
Voire Dame, his mother to a place called 
Marygrove. Marygrove: it sounds as if it had 
fane Wyatt as a valedictorian. He always 
.vanted to be a priest, he said, except for a 
[ vague flirtation with being a fireman. He says 
[lis home environment was very cultured. I 
perk up. His mother, he says, listened to the 
Metropolitan Opera on Saturdays. I slump back 
down in my seat. I ask him to describe his 
early experiences of spirituality. He is not par- 
ticularly good on spirituality, but then I've 
never met a priest who was. There is an inter- 
esting aspect to the involvement of a man of 
twenty-six in such a movement as Lefebvre's; 
the Second Vatican Council began before this 
young man was in his teens. He was never even 
an adolescent in the old Church. Only a child. 

In discussing the makeup of the society, fa- 
ther tells me there are few intellectuals in the 
American branch, although they make up a 
significant proportion of the European mem- 
bership. And he talks about the beauty of the 
universality of the Church, how its appeal 
transcends class differences. He speaks of how 
one of his classmates in the seminary, an Ox- 
ford graduate who teaches the Spiritual Ex- 
ercises of St. Ignatius in several languages, 
embraced "the common," in the Church, for its 
vitality. It is an image that appeals to me 
strongly: Chaucer and his Miller in the same 
pew. It is a particularly European image, for 
in America the best and the brightest have 
left the Church early or used it only as a met- 
aphor. And I am pulled in by the priest's 
discussion of "the Catholic spirit." Every 
Catholic, he says, receives a Catholic sense 
at Baptism, which enables him to distinguish 
what is Catholic from what is not. It is this 
sense, he says, that has brought many peo- 
ple into the society. In worship, the Catho- 
lic sense is the sublime sense of rendering hon- 
or and glory to God using all the beauty of the 
ages. The Catholic sense is an understanding 
of human nature, or "nature baptized." Be- 
cause God is a god of nature. He wants us to 
use natural things as a path to salvation. Since 
Adam and Eve sinned through material crea- 




tion, he says, it is through material creation 
that we must get back to God. And this, he 
says, is something that Protestants do not un- 
derstand. 

I think of the difference between a modest 
Romanesque chapel in Italy and a New Eng- 
land Congregationalist church. I think of the 
'l.'inprrance Movement. And I am ready to 
agree with him, because it is a game I was 
taught to excel in: that trick of sheep and 
goats. Even today, I think of certain things as 
being quintessential^ Protestant: Fig New- 
tons, trust funds, slipper-socks. It is with some 
sense of personal shame that I let him go on. 



HE CATHOLIC SPIRIT, he says, 
is plugged into the Spirit of 
the Universe because it is 
based on the Natural Law. 
I recognize the Thomistic 
phrase. The Catholic spirit is 
a redeemed human spirit 
that recognizes the value of 
natural things and blesses them. It is a spirit 
best expressed in the Latin countries, he says, 
with their love of dance and the good things 
of life. Again, it is an agreeable fantasy: the 
world as a wedding, the family dance. He says 
it is the Providence of God that the Italians 
have been chosen to run the Church. Imagine 
if the French were in charge, he says. There 
would be a drama every minute. Or the Ger- 
mans, they would never have got started. I like 
him for this cosmopolitan ethnocentrism; I 
have always felt that the hasty generalization 
is one of the real pleasures of civilized dis- 
course. 

Afraid of being lulled by dreams of Napoli 
by moonlight, I decide to press him on the 
hard issues. On sex he is not bad at all, or at 
least he is not simplistic. He says that the 
focus of the Church has always been on the 
sanctity of sex, on acknowledging sexuality, 
but insisting that sexual energy be used in a 
more "sublime" way. So delighted am I to hear 
someone using the word "sublime" that the 
argument seems valid to me. A celibate, he 
says, concentrates that sexual energy on his 
personal love of God. He speaks of the erotic 
imagery of the medieval mystics, and how it 
could make many an Irish pastor blush. I am 
impressed now: he's a long way from the chap- 
lain of my high school who referred to French 
kissing, that King Charles" Head among Cath- 
olic adolescents, as "swapping spit." 

We move from sex to politics. He says that 
although the archbishop is a monarchist, he, 
the young priest, feels comfortable with the 
American system of "enlightened capitalism." 



'Does this boy 
really feel at 
ease with a 
system that 
says he should 
want to execute 
nice Mrs. 
Jones next 
door, who gave 
him oatmeal 
cookies and 
angel food 
cake, simply 
because she is a 
Presbyterian?" 



63 



Mary Gordon 
MORE 
CATHOLIC 
THAN 
THE POPE 



I ask if he is interested in placing members of 
the society in positions of political power. He 
says no, because the clanger of corruption is 
too great. ''Our position as regards politics," 
he say.-, "is trying to establish the Kingship 
of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth. Archbishop 
Lefebvre says that this is the major issue that 
separates him from the Vatican . . . [who] feel 
that it is out of date now, not a practical goal, 
and the thing that you've got to work for is a 
better mankind. . . . We believe that laws should 
reflect the Natural Law and that the Church 
should be given a privileged place in the na- 
tion. And that's why Archbishop Lefebvre has 
spoken favorably about people like Franco and 
a couple of dictators in South America, either 
from the point of view of their establishing 
law and order, or in regards to Franco in terms 
of their preserving some modicum of Catholic 
life in the nation as such." 

Our honeymoon is clearly over, and while 
I am out of love, we move quickly to the ques- 
tion of religious liberty. Lefebvre feels that 
the council's proclaiming the doctrine of re- 
ligious liberty was a clear case of heresy. "We 
do not believe that anyone has the absolute 
right in God's eyes to be wrong . . . error has 
no rights," the priest says. I ask how one de- 
termines error. "It's a question of faith," he 
says. "What our Catholic faith tells us, we be- 
lieve to be right." I suggest the paradox of 
that position in light of the society's defiance 
of the authority of the Church. "But," he says, 
"they're not the Church." I hint that his rea- 
soning is ever so slightly circular. Not circular, 
but linear, he says: If the Church has uniform- 
ly taught one thing throughout history and 
then suddenly changes its mind, then it is the 
change that is the aberration. It is such a per- 
fectly simplistic view of history that I do not 
ask him to pursue it. For essentially the basis 
of Lefebvre's position is his view of history, a 
highly fanciful conviction that the world be- 
fore the Enlightenment was an orderly, har- 
monious family of colorful but always essen- 
tially docile children over which Holy Mother 
Church ruled, firmly but benignly. This vision 
is as much an article of faith to the Lefeb- 
vrists as their belief in the Assumption of the 
Blessed Virgin; that they do not call it dogma 
is entirely beside the point. 

I ask father what he would do with people 
who would not conform to the teachings of the 
Catholic Church: what, for example, would 
he do with Jews? He assures me that he would 
protect them, as many of the medieval popes 
did. What about Protestants, I ask him. Prot- 
estants are different, he says; they are here- 
tics. And what, I ask him, should be done with 
heretics? "The way of dealing with them in 



the Middle Ages I think was good. They were 
more or less removed from the scene." 
"How? ' I ask. "By being executed," he re- 
plies, with perfect equanimity. "If you are to 
consider the immense harm, the eternal harm 
that we believe can be done by the spreading 
of heresy, then to kill someone for the crime 
of heresy is perfectly acceptable." I cough un- 
easily into my microphone; some of my best 
friends are heretics. He notes my unease and 
goes on to say, "Today, however, without 
changing the basic principle, we wouldn't go 
about it in the same way, simply because we 
have too many heretics today. ... So we cer- 
tainly maintain the same principle, that that's 
the way it should be done, but nonetheless, as 
a simple point of prudence, adapting ourselves 
to the time where we are today, for us to ac- 
tually mount a campaign to establish the 
Church as the one true Church and to burn 
heretics would be absurd today." 

I am somewhat relieved. But not very. 

In a moment, I have my first vision of the 
nice boy from Detroit struggling with his iden- 
tity as the protege of a French extremist. He 
says he has some trouble with French criticism 
of the American system, their calling our Con- 
stitution "masonic," for example. The Church, 
he asserts, has done far better in America, at 
least in temporal terms, than anywhere else in 
the world, far better than in France, with its 
history of anticlericalism and confiscation of 
Church property. Is there some dissatisfaction 
with the foreign masters? Four times in our 
conversation he has criticized the French: they 
are dirty, they are Jansenistic, they love dra- 
ma excessively, they cavil over philosophical 
points at dinner. Does this boy really feel at 
ease with a system that says he should want 
to execute nice Mrs. Jones next door, who 
gave him oatmeal cookies and angel food 
cake, simply because she is a Presbyterian? 
He notes the contradiction before I do, and 
tries to defend it by pointing to the prosper- 
ity of the American Church. He does not con- 
vince me. I wonder if he is convinced. But I do 
not like to press him; he is such a nice boy; 
he has said too much already; he makes me 
feel as if I'm smoking three cigarettes at once; 
he makes me feel like Tallulah Bankhead. 

We go over the old faith-reason argument. 
I shamelessly drag in Galileo; he shamelessly 
defends the position of the Church. He asserts 
that the "little people" want to be told what 
to do in Confession, that they want to be 
judged, they do not wish to make judgments 
for themselves. I think of Dostoevsky's Grand 
Inquisitor, who asserts that Christ has only 
made people unhappy by giving them freedom 
when what they want is miracle, mystery, and 



64 



authority. Father goes on talking about the 
little people. We have ceased to surprise each 
other. My questions are beginning to lose en- 
ergy. I ask him one that I think is a gift, a 
throwaway so he can end on a good note. Al- 
ready fumbling with the lock on my briefcase, 
I ask him if the preservation of the great ar- 
tistic and cultural heritage of the Church is an 
important priority to his society. I am sure of 
hi:- answer. But in a moment. I am jolted out of 
my careless lethargy. "No, it's not,"' he says, 
in his considered, good-boy's tone. "In fact, 
Archbishop Lefebvre looks a little askance at 
the art of the Renaissance. He finds that to be 
the expression of a pagan mentality that's en- 
tering here, not the Christian spirit of the Mid- 
dle Ages, but a pagan spirit. Especially the 
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel." 

I am glad it is my last question. The answer 
gives me a headache. Its logic is so perfectly 
loony, and yet, in its looniness, so consistent, 
that I find difficulty in formulating a response. 
He ushers in the laymen. 



9H 



can hardly bring myself to 
ask questions of the first 
woman they send me. One 
of the penalties of upward 
mobility is a sense of guilty 
indebtedness to the old 
neighborhood. And this wom- 
an could have lived on my 
block; she could have been a friend of my 
mother's. Her hairstyle means she still uses 
rollers, and I see her in rollers as I speak to 
her, in a supermarket, or cooking frozen peas 
and minute steaks. I see her going quietly, 
not without considerable kindness, through 
her life, and it seems utterly wrong that she 
should have made some sort of decision that 
will place her like this before me, a smart 
aleck with a microphone saying, "Tell me 
about your life." 

But I want to know what made her do it, 
leave the Church, for women like this have 
traditionally looked to the parish church as the 
center of the community. It is a leaving that 
requires courage, not only social, but spiritual, 
for this woman has been brought up believing 
that to leave the Church is to give up salvation. 
"Tell me how you came to be here," I ask, 
the least pointed and perhaps most inadequate 
question of my day. 

She doesn't want to tell me her name — "in 
case I say something stupid." She incapaci- 
tates me as an interviewer; I want to make up 
answers for her; I want her to look good. 

She says it was not her idea to come to St. 
Pius at first, it was her husband's. Her husband 



brought her son, because he was dissatisfied 
with the education, particularly the religious 
education, the child was getting at the local 
parish school. He was no longer taught the 
Baltimore Catechism, and when he was about 
to make his First Communion, the parents 
were told that the children would not have to 
go to Confession because it frightened them 
and anyway children were not capable of sin. 
The woman believes neither that children are 
frightened by Confession nor that they are in- 
capable of sin. Her son's First Communion 
made concrete many of the woman's dissatis- 
factions with the new Church. The sisters who 
were preparing the child for First Communion 
asked him to draw a picture of what he believed 
the table looked like at the Last Supper. The 
child included a bowl of fruit. "Now to me, 
that's not the Last Supper," says the woman. 
It bothered her significantly. She was even 
more disturbed that in her older son's religion 
class, the students were asked to listen to the 
song "The Sounds of Silence." "I happen to 
know that comes from the movie The Gradu- 
ate. That's no movie for a religion class." 

I ask her if she misses her old parish and 
she says no, that she's very involved here, 
cooking for the priests, helping out in the 
school. I ask her if she's lost friends as a result 
of her decision, and she says, "Not really." 
It's just, she tells me, that they don't see the 
people they used to see as much because "it's 
bound to come up." She offers to get me more 
coffee. I carry the tray into the kitchen for her. 
It's all I can do not to help with the dishes. 

The second layman is a man who looks, 
thank God, less vulnerable. He is an engineer. 
The trouble with all these people is that they 
all remind me of somebody I grew up with: 
he is all my cousins who went into the army- 
after high school and put themselves through 
college at night. He doesn't understand how 
anyone could fail to believe the Bible is literal- 
ly true: "There's so much evidence, all the 
archaeology." He doesn't understand how the 
girls in his office, "nice girls, smart girls, well- 
educated girls," can believe in abortion. It's 
common sense, he says, a baby is a baby. He 
is not worried about the birth-control issue 
because the Japanese have invented a new 
thermometer that can pinpoint ovulation to the 
second. He says he came to the society because 
the new Church didn't breed any respect, be- 
cause he wanted a place where his children 
could learn morals, and the Catholic Church 
was becoming too wishy-washy. I ask him what 
he wants for his children. He says, "I'd like 
them to have their heads on straight." When 
I ask him what that means, he says, "Com- 
mon sense." I ask if he would be in the society 



'They were 
raised in a tra- 
dition that . . . 
provided them 
with answers 
before they 
thought of the 
questions, with 
a ritual full 
of mystery that 
promised 
never to 
change." 



65 



Mary Gordon 
MORE 

CATHOLIC 
THAN 

THE POPE 



if he didn't have children, and he says he 
doesn't know. I ask him if it was emotionally 
painful for him to leave the established Cath- 
olic Church, and he says, "Not really." I speak 
to his son, who is ten. They have both come to 
the headquarters for the day to help out with 
some of the repairs. They are crazy about each 
other, this father and son, namesakes, tool- 
carriers. He is a nice man, with his irrational 
belief in common sense, with his upside-down 
devotion to science. He offers to give me a ride 
to the train. 

I understand these two laypersons' decision 
to come to the society. They are frightened by 
change, they want a life for their children that 
they, as parents, can comprehend, a life that 
has something to do with their own childhood. 
They were raised in a tradition that told them 
they must distrust the human reason and their 
own powers of decision, a tradition that pro- 
vided them with answers before they thought 
of the questions, with a ritual full of mystery 
that promised never to change. The Grand In- 
quisitor was right about them: freedom did 
make them unhappy. They believe it will make 
their children unhappy. They want solidity; 
they want the deep richness of a past that is 
not theirs only. They want to be told what to 
do. They have come to the right place. What's 
more, they have found community. They spend 
their weekends with each other, cooking, fix- 
ing the wiring, working in the bookstore. They 
all seem very happy. 

I have more difficulty placing the black 
woman who answered the door. I walk into 
the kitchen and ask if I can speak to her. She 
bustles about, covering a canned ham with foil, 
putting a light under the frozen carrots. I ask 
why she is here. She says, "It's like falling in 
love, isn't it? You can't explain it. It just hap- 
pens." 

Her face is, of all the faces I have seen that 
day, the most compelling. She is a woman in 
her thirties; she has never married; she was a 
practical nurse; she was in the army. We talk 
inconsequentially; my tape runs out. We both 
laugh and agree not to put in another. She 
tells me that I do not look as if I am at peace, 
and that she will pray for me. She asks me to 
call her and have lunch sometime. I say I 
would like that. She is the only person I have 
spoken to who seems to attach any emotion 
to her religious life, and she has met in me 
for that reason a singular hunger. Or perhaps 
it is simply that as a type she is less familiar 
to me, and I grant her a grace I deny to those 
I grew up amongst. At the door we embrace. 
There are tears in my eyes, but she does not 
meet my eyes, and I am glad. I do not want 
her to see me. 



Ill 



Temptations 




HE NEXT DAY, my mother 
drives me to the Latin mass 
that one of the priests will 
say at the VFW Hall in 
Hicksville, where there are 
less prohibitive zoning laws 
and no neighbors worrying 
about the traffic. I ask my 
mother if she wants to go inside with me to 
hear the mass in Latin, which is one of the 
things she keeps saying she wants to do be- 
fore she dies. "No, thank you." she says. "I'm 
interested in saving my soul, if you don't 
mind." 

On a table outside the room where the mass 
will be held there are religious articles and 
pamphlets; plastic gunmetal rosaries, medals, 
statues, and scores of religious booklets and 
hardcover books. Many of the publications 
are by or about Archbishop Lefebvre and the 
society, but I am surprised to see some rem- 
nants of an old genre I had thought extinct: 
titles like "Clean Love in Courtship" and 
"Why Squander Illness?" I am riveted by the 
section on the stigmata: "The Stigmata and 
Modern Science," "Padre Pio" (an Italian 
stigmatist who lost some clout for predicting 
that the world would end in 1952 ) . And "The- 
resa Neumann." Theresa Neumann is one of 
those in-jokes that Catholics recognize each 
other by: a German stigmatist whose career of 
illness and suffering made Job look like a 
malingerer. I read about her early life while 
waiting for the mass to begin: 

Though there is no record of her having, 
made a vow of virginity, there is proof that 
she had firm unshakable determination to 
remain a virgin dating back to her child- 
hood. She never attended a dance and never 
allowed any young man the slightest fa- 
miliarity. Once wlien working on the hay- 
loft over the barn, she made a perilous 
jump of about twelve feet down to the 
threshing floor rather than allow a young 
man to touch her. It is quite possible that 
the trouble that manifested itself in the 
spine later on was due in part to this jump. 
. . . Her intention of entering a convent 
dates at least back to her fifteenth year. 
When, in spite of her declared intention of 
doing so, young men still persisted in 
pressing their suit for her hand in mar- 
riage she determined to end it once and 
for all, and the example of St. Thomas can 
be quoted in defense of the measures she 



66 



f ook: she gave one of these suitors such a 
[I xtstigation with the goad she used on the 

. || ).%en in 'he plough that she was never 

; I roubled again. 

U iresay. 

hatching the other people praying, I try to 
| some sense of them as a crowd. They could 
R any working-class group, a collection of 
1 /Iters or steelworkers and their wives. No 
I , neither male nor female, has long hair, 
B one is wearing anything strikingly fashion- 
h e. I am surprised to see only two cripples 
i the congregation; I had imagined that peo- 
j whose hodies had betrayed them would 
jcj lg to some form of ritual continuity. All 
l women are wearing hats or kerchiefs or 
|j t bizarre Catholic fashion of the '50s, the 
< ipel veil, a narrow circlet of black or white 
'I e that covered the minimum amount of 
: : lale head canonically acceptable. Ages vary, 
I : I would say that if there is one group more 
U >resented than any other it is the fifty-to- 

ty-vear-olds. There are a few children, but 
n t so many as I expected. A disproportionate 

mber of them have red hair, 
j The priest begins the mass, his back to us. 
j tad forgotten one of the features of the old 

iss: its inaudibility. I pick up some phrases, 
j t the altar boys spend most of their time, 

seems, with their foreheads to the floor, 
I dch does nothing for the acoustics. I am not 

thed in a broth of bittersweet nostalgia; 
j :her I feel vaguely frightened. And I re- 

imber feeling vaguely frightened during the 
H asses of my childhood. Perhaps it was the 
J rise of exclusion, or the sense that something 
I Dnumental was about to take place. Or per- 
I ,ps the combination bred terror. The green 
I k back of this young priest stirs poignant 
emories, but I am deprived of the pleasure 

remembered words because he speaks too 
w for me to hear him. I remember now that 
ost priests did. 

It is the Sunday before Lent, and the priest, 
different one from yesterday's, but equally 
)yish, speaks about the need for penance. He 
minds the congregation that they are respon- 
ble for the sins that crucified Christ. It is 
e Protestants, he tells them, who do not be- 
jve in penance; it is the Protestants who have 
ways tried to underplay Lent. There is no 
:nse of penance in the modern Catholic 
hurch, he says: the idea that making penance 
iluntary would make it more meritorious was 
aother one of their modern ideas that back- 
red, because now no one does penance. He 
;minds the congregation that they are re- 
uired under pain of sin to keep the precon- 
iliar fast. 



Again, it is an appealing idea: lean Lent, 
the pleasure of austerity. But no one looks 
very austere; and I suspect that their Lenten 
meals will be largely made up of fish sticks and 
Velveeta, not omelettes aux fines herbes, but 
devilled eggs. I reproach myself for what any 
spiritual adviser before or after the Reforma- 
tion would have called a false sense of spiri- 
tual values. But this mass seems no more 
serious to me than the new masses, where the 
mystery of Transubstantiation is sung to the 
tune of "Five Hundred Miles." My desire for 
flippancy is as strong here as there. If the 
modern mode is a studied casualness, the 
offhandedness of this mass is no less bleak. It 
is not solemn, and I am not drawn in. 



"I had forgotten 
one of the 
features of the 
old mass: 
its inaudi- 
bility. . . . the 
altar boys 
spend most of 
the time, it 
seems, with 
their foreheads 
to the floor, 
which does 
nothing for the 
acoustics." 



mm 



have made arrangements to 
drive into the city with yet 
another priest. This one is 
older; I am relieved to see 
that he had a bad shave. At 
least he needed one. But he 
is, of the three of them, the 
least cheerful, the most sus- 
picious of me. He has written a book called 
Conspiracy Against God and Man. I bought 
it along with the pamphlets on the stigmatists. 
It is published by the Western Islands Press, 
the publishers of the John Birch Society Blue 
Book. The thesis of this priest's book is that 
the Communist conspiracy is only the latest in 
a series of conspiracies whose major motive is 
to destroy the Church. The conspiracy flow- 
ered brilliantly in the seventeenth and eigh- 
teenth centuries among a Bavarian sect called 
the Illuminati, who were an important in- 
fluence on the Freemasons, particularly the 
French Freemasons. And we all know what 
the Freemasons caused: the downfall of his- 
tory, the French Revolution, which has led 
to the shambles of modern life: 

It is all too apparent that ive are engaged 
in a deadly war for the very survival of 
civilization itself. For the spread of col- 
lectivism is not merely the result of a nat- 
ural tendency of decay, but it is purpose- 
fully fostered in a concerted attempt to 
wipe out all opposition by reducing men 
to helpless ivards of the State, thereby un- 
dermining the very natural law which is 
"written in their hearts.'" While the "new 
morality," which is amorality, is pictured 
as a great advance for modern man, true 
morality is subtly scorned ivhen it is not 
openly attacked. And this is being done 
not merely in institutions run by a pagan 
Establishment, but also in seminaries — both 
Catholic and Protestant. Error is held up 
as truth; truth is mocked as narrowness ; 



67 



Mary Gordon 
MORE 
CATHOLIC 
THAN 
THE POPE 



logic is scorned as coldness and insensi- 
bility; contradictions are peddled as mys- 
teries. Family life is undermined and prop- 
erty rights increasingly denied. When not 
mocked, patriotism is often used against 
the good of the people, who are duped into 
believing that it means loyalty to a man, 
an Administration or a party, rather than 
loyalty to the principles that are embodied 
in our Constitution. Naturalism, the reli- 
gion of pantheism is fed to us in the name 
of modern theology, while degrading ideol- 
ogies are given to us as philosophy. 

It is an energetic diction, and the book is 
a strange mix of old Birch hobbyhorses and 
strangely foreign obsessions. Most American 
conservatives would not devote more than half 
a book to an attack on Freemasonry. The au- 
thor even apologizes for the attack: "We do 
not wish to offend anti-Communist Masons, 
many of whom are among 'our staunchest pa- 
triots.' " And, when trying to make the point 
that most of the discontent among the poor 
that is used as a justification for social change 
is simply whipped up by the Left, he uses the 
example not of Vietnam, but of Algeria. 

The priest asks me if I mind sitting in the 
back of the car. It's half an hour before I re- 
alize why: it is because I am a woman. I also 
realize that I am probably the only person 
writing an article of this nature who would 
get into the back seat of a car without asking 
why, simply because I was told to do so by a 
priest. "Numquam solus cum sola." It is an 
old rule: a priest must never be alone with a 
woman. Priests were not supposed, in the old 
days, to sit in the front seat of the car with a 
woman, but it was always a rule to be obeyed 
at the discretion of the particular priest. Some 
ignored the rule; some put even their moth- 
ers in the back seat. 

Our conversation covers most of the same 
ground as the talk with yesterday's priest. 
There are no new responses; there is no real 
energy in his voice until we get to the Mid- 
town Tunnel, and he discovers he has left his 
wallet home. He turns and looks at me for the 
first time. "Do you have any money?" he 
asks, a Brooklyn boy, someone I might have 
gone out with, but only once. The kind of boy 
who wears white socks with black shoes and 
forgets his wallet. I hand him seventy-five 
cents like Rosalind Russell, as if it is nothing. 
He prefers that I do not go into the dark of 
the parking garage with him. I wait for him 
on the sidewalk. When he comes out of the 
darkness, he asks me — Is that a threat in his 
voice? — why I don't come back to the True 
Church. I tell him I'm thinking about it. Over 
the weeks, I think of little else. 



IV 



Mystery and authori' 




DO NOT GET the time to vhl 
the school the society h* 
started until nearly thnf 
weeks later. The school . 
housed in a building rentefr 
from the Lutheran Churcl, 
a concrete irony. The princ 
pal, whom I met at mash 
shows me around. When we enter classroomji 
children leap to their feet and say, "Goq) 
morning, Miss Gordon." It makes me quirt 
nervous, all this leaping and recognition. WheJ 
I mention this to one of the priests he saya 
"You soon learn to get used to it." 

The principal's quick eye catches a boy k 
the corner. "Mr. Finnegan, do you knoi 
you're not wearing your uniform tie?" Mi 
Finnegan knows. He is covered with a confva 
sion that is dangerously familiar to me: 1 
brings back the terror of the time I did noi 
wear my uniform shoes and had to spend th 
day in the principal's office, of the time ji 
could not win the statue of St. Joseph evei;: 
though I had the highest average in the clasi; 
because I had forgotten to have my repor,] 
card signed. Am I endowing the principal's 
voice with a brutality not its own? 

We go into the ninth-grade English clas.* 
and I am impressed by the teacher, whd 
speaks to her students of Dickens with the 
passion of someone who has taught less thar 
two years. At the end of class, she initials ev^ 
eryone's assignment sheet to make sure they 
have copied down the homework. In the teach- 
ers' room we talk about the excitement oi 
teaching literature, about Shakespeare, about 
Jan Kott. She is a lovely woman, but I am 
sure she does not know of her loveliness. I 
am sure she worries about her legs. She is 
twenty-four and lives with her parents. She is 
very proud of her father, a New York cop. I 
confuse her literary comprehension with lib- 
eralism, and I confess my unease about a cur- 
riculum determined by a bunch of John Bir- 
chers. She stiffens. "The John Birch Society 
has been very much maligned," she says. She 
tells me about a book that points out that the 
whole country is run by groups we don't even 
know the name of. I nod. The bell rings. She 
leaves for her next class. 

Three tenth-grade girls want to interview 
me for the school paper. They are wearing 
uniforms ahnost identical to the ones I wore 
in tenth grade. They ask me questions about 



68 



ing a writer. I ask them why they came to 
h . Pius School. The three of them concur: 
was because their parents wanted them to. 
I 1 of their parents formerly attended a Latin 
iss at a church in Wotluiry run by the Kev- 
■ntl Gommar DePauw. There is quite a bit 
bad blood between Father DePauw and the 
ifebvrists. DePauw puts out a periodical 
1 ! lied The Sounds of Truth and Tradition. 
lose logo is TNT. The one issue I read con- 
ined a virulent attack, on Lefebvre and his 
avement. Apparently these girls' parents 
■re drummed out of F ather DePauw's church 
id came to St. Pius. The girls say they are 
ijpp) to be in this school because in the pub- 
■ school- where they went there was no dis- 
pline; one girl tells me students smoked mar- 
I jana in the middle of class and the teachers 
d nothing. One of the girls admits that she 
iased her old high school at first, missed the 
irietv of students there. But now, she says, 
: ie feels very much at home: all the students 
e good friends, they spend a lot of time with 
>\ ich other: they find they don't have much 
i common with the students they used to go 
i i school with. I ask them if they were lonely 
i their neighborhoods. They say no; they 
jvc each other. 

I ask them what they want to be when they 
row up. One girl doesn't want to go to col- 
:ge; she says she'd be happy working as her 
1 ster does, in an insurance company. But one 
irl wants to be a writer and I commit against 
er one of the worst acts of child abuse: I see 
i lyself in her. I tell her she must go to a good 
I ollege; I tell her that she must work hard at 
writing, that she must look at things, care- 
ully. I am really saying that I want her to 
e like me, not like her English teacher, not 
ike the principal. But she is not unhappy; she 
3 probably no worse educated than she would 
•e in a public school. I do not tell her to keep 
n touch with me. I do not know if she would 
ike to. As I leave the classrooms, I touch 
he paper cutouts of the Crucifixion, of the 
Nations of the Cross, and I wonder of these 
hildren: What will become of them? 



hey ARE NOT what I was 
looking for, these people on 
Long Island. I was looking 
for miracle, mystery, and 
authority; I was interested 
in style, in spirituality, in a 
movement that combined the 
classical ideal of the Grego- 
rian mass with the romantic image of the 
Foreign life, suggesting illegitimacy. I had 
imagined a group of thoughtful, saddened 




communicants led by priests devoted to a vi- 
sion of sanctity made fecund by the grandeur 
of the past, anguished pastors reluctantly ac- 
cepting their place outside the arms of Holy 
Mother. But it is difficult to coordinate the 
drama of the French archbishop with the re- 
ality of his American flock, reading their St. 
Joseph Missals and their pamphlets about stig- 
matists, sending their children to a school 
whose curriculum is determined by a man who 
teaches Industrial Arts in a public high school, 
where the children will be chivied about uni- 
form ties. I can only make the connection in 
terms that are quintessentially American. I see 
now that what these people, deeply American 
in their longings, really want, both priests and 
laity, is not the Middle Ages but the 1950s, not 
Thomas Aquinas but Bishop Sheen, not Philip 
the Good but Joe McCarthy. Lefebvre's vi- 
sion is distinctly European, but the fruits of 
it in this country are a puzzling mixture, a 
populist expression of an aristocratic ideal, a 
colonial adaptation of an Old World mode, 
as unsettling as those photographs of Indians 
wearing top hats. 

America reacts to invaders by ingesting 
them; perhaps the most predictable course for 
the society will be a hectic fleurescence fol- 
lowed by a sullen homogenization. Perhaps 
not. The society provides for its people commu- 
nity and orthodoxy, the distinction of margin- 
ality, the allure of a foreign rule. And it prom- 
ises to precisely the people most frightened by 
change that they need not change again, that 
they have found a home, the house they were 
born in, the Church of their childhood. 

But it is not the Church of my childhood, 
and it is certainly not the Church of any adult 
to whom I bear even a distant similitude. If 
one, through a combination of instinct and 
training, hungers for the past, for the texture 
and substance of an age perhaps less slap- 
dash than our own, then one is tempted by 
an order which suggests that the present is 
not all we have. But the pleasure of a world 
pared down is an equivocal one; there is, at 
the end, too much left out in deference to 
simplicity, consistency, even, perhaps, peace 
of mind. 

Finally, it will not do, the image of a prelate 
who cannot love his age, supported by priests 
in love with theories of conspiracy, priests 
who could have been my brothers followed by 
a congregation in love with virgin martyrs 
and rote devotion. And finally, it is a relief to 
be on the train, knowing I will not have to 
see them again. But there is loss, as well, or 
more properly disappointment, as if I had got 
off the metro looking for Balmain's and found 
myself in Kresge's. □ 



'The pleasure 
of the world 
pared down is 
an equivocal 
one; there is, 
at the end, too 
much left out 
in deference 
to simplicity, 
consistency, 
even, perhaps, 
peace 
of mind." 



h \hi'ki;n 

JULY 1978 



69 




Jean Rhys, author most 
recently oj Sleep It Off. 
Ladies, a collection oj 
short stories, is cur- 
rently working on her 
autobiography. 



I AM SORRY for any journalist landed with 
the job of interviewing me. To begin with, 
I am not at all lucky on these occasions; 
it so often happens that the last thing I 
want on that particular day is a stranger's 
questions. If I lived in London, it would be 
easy to cancel or postpone the interview. In 
Devon, by the time that I have decided that 
I really can't go through with it, it's too late, 
he or she is already on the way. 

As usual several things have gone wrong. 
Perhaps somebody has turned my lucky horse- 
shoe upside down. Blue eye shadow. Too 
much? Too little? There is no one to tell me. 
But after all, this is something I have always 
insisted on deciding for myself. It will have 
to do. 

Is the sitting room all right? Fairly, I 
think; shift a vase and try to decide which 
chair I ought to sit in. Some say back to the 
light on. back-to-the-light days, others no, sun- 
light, unlike glare, is very becoming; face the 
light on sunny days. Just as I have decided, 
there is a knock, the interviewer has arrived. 

"''Please sit down," I say when I have opened 
the door and we have reached the sitting room 
and the interviewer plonks down in the chair 
I've chosen. I sit in the other, already feeling 
exhausted. There's not a thought in my head, 
not a word. I can only wonder if she l or he I 
will describe this place as a cottage, a semi- 
detached, or a horrid little bungalow with 
creepers and things all over it. 1 know al- 
ready, it jumps to the eyes, as the French say. 
I wait to be questioned. 

\^ hat are you to say when they ask you, 
"Were you glamorous in those days?" That 
all depends doesn't it. Should it be "Oil yes. 
I was very. People used to push little notes 
into my hand T love you.'" Fun! Or "Good 
heavens, no, not at all!" 

The question-and-answer game goes on. I 



MAKING BRICE 

realize that I am being gently pushed into m 
predestined role, the role of victim. I hav 
never had any good times, never laughec 
never got my own back, never dared, neve 
worn pretty clothes, never been happy, neve 
known wild hopes or wilder despairs. In shor 
I have never been young or if I was I've for 
gotten all about it. Wailing, I have gone fron 
tyrant to tyrant: each letdown worse than th< 
last. All this, of course, leads straight to Worn 
en s Lib. 

"It s all so different now," she says (this 



one s a woman i . 



"Don't you think it still depends a bit on 
the individual? But I suppose it's all different 
now." I add and suggest a drink. Sometimes 
drink alone, sometimes not. 

I pour myself out a large whiskey, for sud- 
denly I am completely exhausted. Longing to| 
have a cigarette and sit quietly by myself! 
thinking it over. 

Go without returning 

Go without remembering 

Just go . . . ( old song 1 1 

I empty my glass, pour another, and this is, 
where I begin to talk wildly, the real reason 
for the inaccuracies that have been written 
about me. 

"I didn't like the suffragettes much," I say. 

"Didn't you." she says, shocked. 

"Not much, when you posted a letter you 
never knew whether it would get there. They 
used to set fire to post boxes, things like that. 
Such a nuisance." 

Silence. 

"^ ou know the one who threw her.-elf in 
front of the horse?" I say. "Well, I felt so sor- 
ry for the horse." 

"But the woman was a martyr,"' the inter- 
viewer says. 

"Perhaps she wanted to be a martyr, but 
the horse didn't. He had to be shot." 



70 



ITIIOIT STRAW 

But surely you realize the desperate her- 
n in what she did?" 

Yes, of course I know that, but I was still 
jij y sorry for the horse. She was wonderful, 
f course. They were all wonderful but as I 
] England during that period I really don't 
I >w much about it. Then I've been living 
t vn here for such a long time." 

'How long have you been living here 
j ne?" 

'Oh, years and years, really I don't remem- 

'You must be very brave," she says, look- 
jj ; around. 

'Oh, I'm not brave at all," I say. "I'm 
I aid of almost everything, but I am faith- 

T beg your pardon, you're what?" 

'I'm faithful," I say again. 
| 'Miss Rhys, I find that very interesting. 
! :ase do explain what or who you are faith- 
: to." 

! 'Oh, that would take far too long; besides 

' im a little tired now" (a hint). 
"I'm afraid that's my fault. Thank you for 
ring me all this time." (Quite kind after 
•) 

When I read the article it is something like 

is: 

Miss Rhys was very old and frail, has 
been living alone in a small remote bun- 
galow for years and years, she says. She 
insists that she is not brave but faithful 
and rather coyly refuses to explain what 
she means by that! . . . 

I am left to remember other interviews, the 
ne when I forgot to put the whiskey out. 
ie time I mistook the interviewer for the 
t boy. The time when a local reporter fol- 
wed me into the hairdresser's and wanted to 
ke my picture with my hair wet. 



by Jean Rhys 

The time I was sitting soaking in 
the bath when there was a 
succession of loud knocks 
on the door. The knock 
ing went on and be- 
came louder and 
louder. At last I got 
out of the bath, 
opened the win 
dow, and called: 

"I can't see 
anybody now, 
please go away." 
He went away 
and wrote that 
I was a con- 
firmed recluse 
and refused 
to see or 
speak to any- 
one. This be- 
came a local 
legend, and 
it was not 
only local. Of 
course, I tell 
myself the poor 
interviewer had 
to produce a 
smooth article of 
so many words 
and I hadn't 
helped him mucl 

Inaccuracies occur, 
for people must be 
entertained. So now I 
can read calmly of my 
dark dreadful life, extra- 
ordinary versions of my first 
marriage, that I worked on the 
stage for ten bob a week ( this last an 
noys me), but as a rule I don't turn a hair 




71 



CUSTOMER INFORMATION FROM GENERAL MOTOIS 



HOW TO TELL WHEN 
YOUR CAR NEEDS A TUNE-UP 

AND HOW TO BE SURE YOU DON'T PAY FOR MORE SERVICE THAN YOU NEED. 



Remember the old Spring 
and Fall tune-ups? There was 
a time when GM cars needed 
tune-ups every year. But that 
was a long time ago. Since 
1973, we've been building cars 
that don't need anywhere near 
as much routine maintenance 
as they used to. 

Now, a lot of people are 
getting tune-ups they don't 
really need. Probably out of 
habit. 

Break the habit, and 
you'll save yourself some 
money. The maintenance 
schedule and the owner's 
manual your GM dealer gives 
you with your new GM car 
will tell you exactly what 
scheduled maintenance is re- 
quired and when. Some of the 
newer schedules may surprise 
you. 

For example, spark plugs 
used to have to be changed 
every 12,000 miles. Now it's 
every 22,500 or 30,000, de- 
pending on which new GM 
car you bought. For most 
drivers that means changing 
plugs every two years instead 
of every year. 

When you bought your 
first car, you probably 
changed oil every 1,000 miles. 
We upped it to 6,000 a few 
years ago; and now it's 7,500 
on all new GM cars except 
diesels. 



Or take distributor points 
and condensers. They never 
need replacing with GM's new 
high energy ignition system. 
It doesn't have any points or 
condensers. 

If you do have trouble 
with your car, just fix what 
needs fixing. When you take 
your car in for service, tell the 
mechanic exactly what's hap- 
pening. If it's hard to start 
"hot," but starts okay when it's 
"cold," say so. If it doesn't per- 
form the way you expected, 
describe just how and where it 
doesn't live up to your expec- 
tations. Then it'll be easier for 
the mechanic to pinpoint 
what's wrong, and he won't 
have to make unnecessary re- 
pairs. That can save you time 
and money. 

Some things have to be 
watched more carefully, de- 
pending on how and where 
you drive your car. For exam- 
ple, if you do a lot of driving on 
dry, dusty roads, you may 
need to change the air cleaner 
and oil filter more often than 
the maintenance schedule in- 
dicates. Remember, the main- 
tenance schedule that comes 
with your car is based on 
average driving conditions. 

If you have an older car 
that still needs an annual 
tune-up, what should it in- 
clude? There are some basic 
things to be checked: spark 
plugs, points, condensers, 
idling speed, and drive belts. 



It can't hurt to check the air j 
cleaner and fuel filter, tire) 
pressure, and brake fluid) 
either. And when you do take! 
your car in for a tune-up, don't| 
be shy. Find out exactly what! 
you need and what you're get! 
ting for your money. 

We're trying to make GMj 
cars easier and more econom 
ical to service. We've been able 
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This advertisement is part of\ 
ourcontin uing effort to give cus- 
tamers useful information about 
their cars and trucks and the 
company that builds them. 

General Motors 

People building transportation 
to serve people 



IN OUR TIME 



by Tom Wolfe 



Great Ideas of Western Man : 
The Famous Writer on the College Lecture Circuit 

". . . so we are confronted once again with the duality, the 
bifurcation, the existential dilemma of the writer's task in 
America, and . . ." 

("The little blonde bud from the creative-writing class is a 
sure thing, but she'll insist on a lot of literary talk first . . . 
The big redhead on the lecture committee will spare me that, 
but she talks to me as if Vm seventy years old. . . 
Little Bud?. . . or Big Red?. . .) 



LANGLOIS'S BATHTUB 



The Genesis myth of the Cinematheque Francaise 



by Diana Johnston 



JUST across the Seine from the 
Eiffel Tower, nestled under the 
upstream wing of the vast sleek 
museum complex called the Pa- 
lais de Chaillot, lies the entrance to 
a national treasure trove: the Cinema- 
theque Franchise. To the average Pa- 
risian intellectual-in-the-street, it is one 
of the glories of the culture, the first, 
biggest, and best film collection in the 
world, the Louvre of cinema, the crea- 
tion of a lone genius, Henri Langlois. 

In French legend, Langlois's bath- 
tub rivals Marat's in fame. There, sup- 
posedly sacrificing personal cleanliness 
to art, the young visionary stacked up 
precious reels from the early days of 
moviemaking, rescuing masterpieces 
from the celluloid recycling factories 
where they would be melted into wom- 
en's hosiery. "Henri Langlois's bath- 
tub was the first cinematheque in the 
world," a film authority wrote in 1974, 
perpetuating the well-established myth. 
Such sentiment struck a responsive 
chord in a country whose misers long 
hid their savings in mattresses. The 
myth made it sacrilegious to ask pre- 



cisely where, and how, the 50,000 to 
80,000 films variously claimed by the 
Cinematheque Franchise were being 
preserved, without any of the specially 
equipped storage facilities or knowl- 
edgeable technicians employed bv the 
world's other, less inspirational film 
libraries. Jean Cocteau once called 
Langlois "the dragon who guards our 
treasures," and the label stuck. France 
was privileged to entrust its film heri- 
tage to a mythical beast rather than to 
mere anonymous specialists in the con- 
servation of celluloid images. Other 
film libraries had card catalogues. As 
for the Cinematheque Francaise, "I 
am the card catalogue," Langlois said. 



THE cinematheque Francaise 
was founded by four men in 
1936 as a private, nonprofit 
organization. The one with 
the money for the venture was a for- 
ty-five-year-old businessman, Paul-Au- 
guste Harle. The one eager to set up 
a fdm archive was a thirty-two-year- 
old journalist, Jean Mitry, later a lead- 




ing cinema historian. The other U 
were Georges Franju, twenty-four, wl 
went on to direct films, and his friei 
Henri Langlois, twenty-two. A ye 
earlier, the two young men had formi 
a Cercle du Cinema with the object 
projecting silent movies, but they hj 
found it hard to get hold of films. 

The Cinematheque Frangaise cor 
bined the archives project of Mi 
with the "cinema circle" project 
Langlois and Franju, each project pr 
viding solutions to the problems 
the other. The circle's showings 
tracted public attention and contribi 
tions to the archive, which in tur 
enriched the showings. As a "museum 
the Cinematheque was able to sho J 
films for low, untaxed admission fee; 
cheaper than movie houses or eve 
cine-clubs. As a public service, it wa 1 
able to obtain rent-free projectioi 
rooms and, eventually, governmen 
subsidies. And with a name that gavi 
people the impression of a nationa 
institution, it was able to obtain dona 
tions and loans of films from film 
makers, private individuals, and fihr 
archives in other countries, all eagei 
to contribute to the proclaimed mis 
sion of conservation. 

The great days of the Cinematheque 
Franchise, were not to come until the 
Fifties, however, in a France still dark 
ened and divided by the Occupation 
and the Cold War, resentful of Ameri- 
canization yet fascinated by American 
cultural products, jazz and films in 
particular. Oblivious to political issues 
Langlois in his role (by this time) as 
director offered a cornucopia of images 
created by Orson Welles and Eisen 
stein, Eric von Stroheim and Akira Ku 
rosawa, Alfred Hitchcock and Luchinc 
Visconti, Luis Bunuel and Fritz Lang 
D. W. Griffith and Buster Keaton. 

Langlois began by unveiling hi 
wonders to a select few in a small pro 
Diana Johnstone has taught French literaturt 
at the University of Minnesota. She currently 
works as a journalist in Paris writing foi 
French and American publications. 



74 



Consumer Reports thinks you should know: 

How good is the bologna 
in that sandwich? 



)f the .T> brands and varieties of 
ogna tested by Consumer Reports 
quality, nine were rated Poor or 
ry Poor for taste. The samples, 
ught in food stores, were either ranck 
mowed beginning signs of rancidity. 

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Bologna Tuna Salad Pear 



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onsumer products and services. 




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LANGLOIS'S BATHTUB 



jection room in the avenue de Mes- 
sine. In 1955, showings began (three 
films daily) in the basement of the 
Pedagogic Institute in the rue d'Ulm, 
in a staid section of the Latin Quarter. 
The young intelligentsia of Paris 
flocked. The film shown was not always 
the film promised; sometimes it had 
holes in it, sometimes it was in Swedish 
with Japanese subtitles, but that only 
added to the air of adventure, as did 
Langlois's shouts of rage at the occa- 
sional Philistine who foolishly laughed 
out loud at the posturing of some 
faded silent star. His haphazard pro- 
graming stimulated the imagination 
of budding filmmakers. The only way 
he ever grouped films was by directors, 
in periodic "tributes," driving home 
the point that if "movies" were stars, 
"cinema" was directors. 

Langlois particularly loved silent 
movies,, without musical accompani- 
ment and even without titles. But his 
passion for cinema was universal; he 
appreciated virtually everyone. Film 
people whose careers had fallen on 
hard times, or newcomers trying to get 
started, were grateful for Langlois's 
warm tributes to their work. He of- 
fered a promise of immortality to a 
precarious art, and film people re- 
sponded by building his collection and 
his glory. 

THE cultural village of Paris 
thrives on the assumption that 
it is the center of the universe 
from which most significant 
trends emanate, and on exchanges of 
favors and flatteries. The directors, 
film historians, and journalists who 
felt grateful to Langlois naturally be- 
gan to build his legend as the unique 
genius who had single-handedly res- 
cued the cinema's past from total de- 
struction. Actor Michel Simon called 
hhn "a Saint senl by Providence to 
gather films, protect them, bring them 
back to life." The newspaper Quotidien 
de Paris pronounced: 

// Henri Langlois had not lived, if 
he had not from his earliest youth 
piled his bathtub high with film* 
thrown into the rubbish heap by 
the big companies, what aould we 
know today of the beginnings of 
the Seventh Art? 

Such exaggerations appear to be 
more the work of Langlois's admirers 
than of Langlois himself, whose own 



writings include more accurate ver- 
sions of the Cinematheque's origins. 

Indeed, the idea of creating cinema- 
theques, that is, film libraries with the 
double function of conserving cinema 
works and making them available to 
researchers and to the public, is prac- 
tically as old as cinema itself and is 
so obvious that no inspired genius was 
necessary. The city of Paris has had 
its own educational cinematheque 
since 1925. The big French companies 
— Lumiere, Pathe, Gaumont — carefully 
preserved all their negatives in ar- 
chives that exist to this day. Rich 
amateurs, like banker Albert Kahn. and 
the French Army, also began early 
amassing large collections. The intro- 
duction of the "talkies" in 1929 
spurred the creation of film libraries 
in all film-producing countries by driv- 
ing silent films out of commercial cir- 
culation; this made copies of silent 
films available to collectors while stim- 
ulating concern for their preservation. 

The Swedish Cinema Academy 
founded a national film archive in 
1933. That same year, a group of 
amateurs in Paris founded an ephem- 
eral Cinematheque Nationale. In 1935. 
the Museum of Modern Art in New 
York opened its film library, and the 
British Film Institute set up a na- 
tional film library in London. Mean- 
while, the German government had 
started a film archive in Berlin, while 
Rome and Moscow had film libraries 
set up to meet the needs of professors 
and students of cinema. 

There are two problems that make 
film collecting more difficult than, say, 
book collecting. One is physical pres- 
ervation: reels of film take up a huge 
amount of space. They are perishable, 
and even, in the case of the old nitrate 
films, potentially explosive. The other 
is legal: films are commercial proper- 
ties, and ownership and distribution 
rights are tangled affairs. Langlois's 
originality lay largely in substituting 
showmanship, bluff, and inextricable 
confusion for any systematic approach 
to these problems. Around Langlois. 
it was always understood that collect- 
ing old films was a dangerous mission, 
on a par with espionage in enemy ter- 
ritory. Absolute secrecy was necessary 
to protect the treasures from mysteri- 
ous enemies who lurked about. To out- 
siders, the "enemy" might be identi- 
fied according to what was assumed 
to be the outsider's political bias: to 



an American, presumed to favor : 
enterprise, it might be stressed 1 
the enemy was "the State." whil 
French leftist would be warned t 
"the Americans" were plotting to m 
off with the precious reels. Occasi 
ally Langlois, who believed in soc 
sayers, would spot an "enemy" v 
had the "evil eye." 

Langlois's warmth, his enthusia; 
his flights of fancy enchanted m 
people who knew him. He had " 
Oriental charm of his Turkish mo 
er," one familiar recalls. Later on 
life, he grew enormously fat and i 
dermined his health with compuls 
overeating, often in fine restaurai 
where he generously picked up the t 
for bedazzled film buffs or visiti 
cineastes from East European coi 
tries. He retained always the charm 
his intense, wide-eyed gaze and his n 
lodious voice, the charm of the seer 
sharer. Langlois wrapped himself 
films and secrets, alternately conce; 
ing and revealing, showing his tre 
sures as he would reveal his hidd< 
soul, to make himself loved. He live 
in the reflected light of flickering ir 
ages, merging with the larger-than-li 
emotions of the screen. 



Langlois died on January L 
1977. So many people helpe 
build the myth that he le 
behind that it still survive 
like a dragon to guard a myster 
whose unraveling could only be en 
barrassing to much of the French cu 
tural establishment. But one must asl 
\S hat is left of the Cinematheque noi 
that Langlois is gone? 

To the public, the Cinemathequ 
continues to be the projection rooi 
at the Palais de Chaillot, the cheapes 
movie show in town, offering four dii 
ferent films every day but Monda) 
To uncritical fans, such abundanc 
has long constituted visible proof tha 
the Cinematheque Franchise possesse 
"the biggest and finest film collectio 
in the world." Only about one of thos 
four daily films is a masterpiece, be 
longing to the cycle of classics that th 
Cinematheque runs through each yea 
— a total of some three or four hur 
dred films at the most. The others ar 
often fairly recent releases, lent by th 
director or distributor. (By showin 
1,248 films per year, most of ther 
borrowed, the Cinematheque convince 



78 



"My agent says it'll gross enough 
to keep me in Chivas for a year. 



Regal ♦ 12 Years Old Worldwide ♦ Blended Scotch Whisky ♦ 86 Proof. 
General Wine &. Spirits Co , N Y. 



LANGLOIS'S BATHTUB 



In order to answer this question, 
one must look again at the real extent 
of the treasures. How did the Cinema- 
theque grow, and to what proportions? 
According to legend, repeated in some 
press accounts, Langlois scoured the 
flea markets of Paris, and when the 
war came, snatched as many as 60,000 
films from the marauding Nazis. 

According to Mitry, the collection 
was started in 1936 by pooling what 
money they could get from Harle and 
Langlois's father to buy old prints 
being sold by dealers to fairs and 
amusement parks. The Cinematheque 
Franchise had about 200 films by the 
time war broke out; many of these 
were unfortunately lost in the country 
caches where Langlois hid them. 

The German Occupation turned out 
to be a windfall to the Cinematheque, 
thanks largely to Frank Henseh direc- 
tor of the Reichsfilmarchiv, the Ger- 
man film archives. Hensel provided 
the Cinematheque with storage space 
in the Palais de Chaillot and quarters 
in the avenue de Messine building 
requisitioned from Jewish owners for 
the Reichsfilmarchiv. After the war, 
the Cinematheque gave its first regular 
showings in the projection room there 
used during the Occupation by Nazi 
censorship. Above all, when the Ger- 
mans began to requisition old films 
for chemical recycling, it was Hensel, 
as a conscientious professional, who 
saw to it that the Cinematheque got 
any negatives that turned up and at 
least one copy of each movie. Mitry 
estimates that the Cinematheque thus 
emerged from the war with a vastly 
enlarged collection of some 3,000 films. 

After the war, the Cinematheque's 
cofounders having gone on to other 
activities, it became Langlois's one- 
man show, and the statistical escala- 
tion began. In a 1945 interview, he 
claimed 20,000 films. A few years 
later, the figure was raised to 35,000. 
The government offered him storage 
space in an old fort at Bois d'Arcy, 
outside Paris. 

A second major source of acquisi- 
tions was a 1950 law banning flamma- 
ble nitrate films. Laboratories were 
given deadlines to copy onto safe ace- 
tate, and truckloads of old nitrate 
films were carted out to the Bois 
d'Arcy. Langlois's figures grew again, 
perhaps in good faith, since there is no 
evidence he ever even counted all 
those reels. 



Langlois's success in making 
a life's work of watching and 
showing old movies hinged 
on his playing to the hilt the 
role of fanatic preserver of threatened 
celluloid. But squirreling rusty reels 
away in dank cellars is not conser- 
vation, as specialists know. Copied 
onto acetate and kept in cold storage, 
films may last centuries. Otherwise 
they are doomed. 

Despite Langlois's prestige and cha- 
risma, specialists began to have their 
doubts about the "dragon" when, in 
July, 1959, several thousand reels en- 
trusted to the Cinematheque and stored 
in a backyard shed in the rue de Cour- 
celles went up in flames. Precious 
films, including some on nitrate, had 
been heaped up there, unguarded, 
amidst trash cans and refuse. Many of 
the films belonged to other archives 
that had lent them for showings. The 
Cinematheque was never able to pro- 
vide a list of the films destroyed in 
the fire. Lenders discovered that no 
one kept close enough track of their 
films to know whether they were in 
the heap that burned, or perhaps in 
some other heap, goodness knows 
where. If a lender complained that he 
never got his film back, then "it must 
have burned in the fire." Suspicions 
grew of negligence, and, even worse, 
theft. Some lenders claimed to have 
seen their "burned" films at subse- 
quent Cinematheque showings. Sonika 
Bo, a Langlois admirer who was heart- 
broken at losing the children's films 
she had accumulated since 1932 for 
her unique Cinderella Cinematheque, 
is convinced to this day that they were 
"stolen" by Mary Meerson. 

In the Sixties, Langlois seemed to 
be in luck. De Gaulle's Minister of 
Culture, Andre Malraux, was willing 
and eager to help the Cinematheque. 
Official largesse flowed, including 
about a million dollars to make copies 
of films, new modern storage facilities 
at Bois d'Arcy, and a handsome new- 
projection room in the Palais de Chail- 
lot, inaugurated in 1963. 

All this time, the Cinematheque's op- 
erations were a mystery to evervone. 
including its administrative council, a 
repository of film people content to 
lend their names to a good cause and 
let Langlois run it. After the daily 
showings, Mary Meerson would scoop 
the receipts from the cash register and 
carry them home. How much money 



came in? How was it spent? \\ H 
films had been copied with the gil 
ernment money, and where were thel 

Bloodhounds of the public treastl 
began sniffing around the Cinenl 
theque for the scandals that were sul 
ly there. L nder growing pressure 1 
well from specialists who warned til 
the films in Langlois's care were rl 
ting away from neglect, Malraux w| 
obliged to demand an accounting. g 

Subsidies had given the governmdj 
a decisive voice on the administratil 
council. At Malraux"s request, t| 
council named two specialists to J 
to administration and conservatidj 
relegating Langlois to the role of "J 
tistic director." The date was Februal 
9, 1968. 

A wind of revolt was blowing ovl 
the world in 1968. In France, the! 
was boredom with the political rigid 
ty of the Gaullist period, impatienj 
with its high-handedness. Malraua 
move against Langlois sent the FrenJ 
film world to the barricades. 

The "new wave" directors — Fraj 
cois Truffaut. Jean-Luc Godard, Alal 
Resnais, and others, then at the heigj 
of their fame — took the lead in d 
fending their old master, who wise 
lay low and let others speak for hin 
A defense committee was formed. Pel 
tions were signed. Demonstration 
were organized. Telegrams of suppo 
poured in from abroad signed by sud 
figures as Vincente Minnelli. Robert 
Rossellini. and Charlie Chaplin. Pla 
wright Jean Anouilh protested in ti 
name of "Shakespeare and Sophoclq 
who would have been unsparing i 
their support." In parliament, Frai 
gois Mitterrand took the lead in d 
manding an explanation from Malraii 
for the outrage. The Left followed. 

The newspaper Combat led in tl 
apotheosis of Langlois, portraying a 
epic battle between Freedom and tl 
State, poetry and bureaucracy, artist: 
creativity and heartless technocrat 
A professional archivist like Raymori 
Borde of the Toulouse Cinemathequ 
who tried to call attention to conse 
vation problems, had no chance < 
making his voice heard against Lan 
lois's glittering array of champion 
When the government took newspap< 
photographers out to the Bois d'An 
to show them the desolate heaps < 
abandoned reels, Combat angrily d 
nounced the "staged" tour as "wortr 
of a totalitarian regime." 



80 



ft ) political paradoxes stand out. 
J ,vas that the conventional Left 
II ip the cause of a purely private 
11 >rise against a government inter- 
I n aimed only, in fact, at assur- 
u ormal management of a public- 
t, st enterprise subsidized by tax 
o| . . The other was that the budding 
H Left," theoretically in favor of 
I cers' control" and the free flow of 
f nation it implies, ardently cham- 
Bj a one-man control that, how- 
< charmingly eccentric, was ulti- 
I \ tyrannical and mystifying. 
J : ideology was distorted to suit 
, reater power of the network of 
B nal connections in the Paris cul- 
ij village. Malraux bowed before 
A :orm. On April 22, Langlois was 
ated, his rule of the Cinema- 
e secure until his death, 
ring the crisis, Malraux appoint- 
,vo technicians, Jean Vivie and 
i Weil-Lorac, to examine the 
ition of the Cinematheque collec- 
and make the only known inven- 
Finding no usable lists, they 
right to the reel boxes, kept in 
different places. They never had 
to check them all to see how 
l was duplicate footage, but their 
check indicated that the Cinema- 
je Franchise possessed, at the 
. from 15,000 to 16,000 films. Of 
:, an estimated 9,000 were dam- 
in some way, leaving perhaps 

usable films. That was ten years 
Since Langlois never consented 

•ansfer his films to the new, mod- 
vaults, experts say the surviving 
5 may number only about 3,000. 
he report by Vivie and Weil-Lorac 
never published by the govern- 
t. 

/hy did Malraux back down so 
ly? As French film pioneer Abel 
ce wrote in the heat of the con- 
ersy: "The Cinematheque Fran- 
e has, in fact, no body. It is en- 
ly a heart called Langlois. If you 
; it out, there will be nothing left." 
Vhat is a magic act without the 
*ician? Malraux was no doubt able 
ippreciate Langlois's bluff, and the 
lity of calling it. France would only 
s "the biggest and finest cinema- 
}ue in the world," and Malraux 
iself, among so many others, would 

1 silly or worse for having sup- 
ted and subsidized what might 
ely be called a fraud. 

'en days after he was reinstated, 



Langlois broke his silence with a state- 
ment that surprised some of his sup- 
porters. "'The battle amounted to a 
sort of tribute to Mr. Malraux," he 
said cannily, "since it showed him 
that he had been right to protect the 
Cinematheque for eight years." 

Having been canonized by acclama- 
tion in 1968, Langlois rested uneasily 
on his laurels, letting the Cinema- 
theque go to pot. His sloppy program- 
ing no longer enchanted a public 
that now had an array of Latin Quar- 
ter art cinemas to choose from. Cine- 
matheque personnel, generally under- 
paid and reduced to lackey status by 
the Langlois-Meerson dictatorship, 
took it out on the customers, who were 
treated like crass idiots if they dared 
complain of delays or unannounced 
changes. 

Instead of putting order in his own 
house, Langlois announced ambitious 
new projects for the United States. 
They eventually fell through, but he 
won a special Oscar in 1974. He used 
his reputation in America to silence 
criticism at home, letting it be known 
that any government move against his 
rule would trigger instant withdrawal 
of films deposited by American film- 
makers. 

In fact, withdrawing films deposited 
at the Cinematheque has proved no 
easy matter — except perhaps for Lang- 
lois himself and Mary Meerson. 

Rene Clair was among the French 
filmmakers who entrusted negatives 
of his films to Langlois. When he 
wanted to have copies made, they 
were nowhere to be found. The Lan- 
glois myth survives such misfortunes. 

The government has gone on 
discreetly subsidizing the Ci- 
nematheque Franchise and 
paying off its debts, saving it 
from its own mismanagement, with- 
out ever obtaining an accounting of 
its peculiar operations. And the Cine- 
matheque limps along toward some 
sort of reorganization, perhaps as a 
foundation, burying its scandals alive. 
An inventory has been called for to 
find out what actually belongs to the 
Cinematheque. 

Drastic shrinkage of "the largest 
film collection in the world" can be 
expected from deflation of Langlois's 
inflated figures, deterioration of ne- 
glected reels, and ignorance of where 



Langlois put things. But a more subtle 
threat — one that could explain the 
continuing power of Langlois's inner 
circle, especially Mary Meerson — was 
suggested in a recent interview with 
Madeleine Malthete-Melies, secretary of 
the Cinematheque from 1943 to 1945, 
and granddaughter of Georges Melies, 
the creator of the first fictional films, 
including A Trip to the Moon in 1902. 

Her grandmother, France's first 
"movie star," sold a collection of 
Melies drawings to the Cinematheque 
with the understanding that they would 
be preserved and displayed there. The 
drawings were paid for by the Cinema- 
theque, which received government 
subsidies for such purchases. But later, 
Madame Malthete-Melies discovered 
that her grandfather's drawings had 
been registered as a loan to the Cinema- 
theque from Mary Meerson. They be- 
longed to Madame Meerson, who even- 
tually sold most of them to American 
buyers. 

"And it's the same for all the films, 
all the documents," Madame Malthete- 
Melies said. "An inventory is impos- 
sible. The story will be hushed up. the 
inventory will never be made known, 
no one will see it. For it's a monumen- 
tal swindle." 

If. as Georges Melies's granddaugh- 
ter says, everything at the Cinema- 
theque is under the name either of a 
real lender or of a fictional one, the 
Cinematheque itself may own very lit- 
tle — unless it can quietly come to terms 
with the fictional owners. 

Meanwhile, some of the specialized 
cinema journals have been looking 
wistfully at the less illustrious but bet- 
ter-run cinematheques in neighboring 
countries. Just across the channel, the 
government-supported British Film 
Institute, with a catalogued collection 
of more than 8,000 properly conserved 
films, offers such services as a lending 
library, well-organized showings and 
educational programs, and a projec- 
tion room where researchers can or- 
der special screenings of films they 
want to study. 

Thus, whatever happens to the Cine- 
matheque Franchise, the film profes- 
sion is beginning to call for a national 
institution seriously dedicated to con- 
servation, projection, research, and 
documentation. French cinema has had 
its guru. It now needs a cinema- 
theque. □ 
harper's/july 1978 



81 



BOOKS 



MUCK, MEMORY, 
AND IMAGINATION 



The World According to Garp, by 

John Irving. 437 pages. E. P. Dutton. 
$10.95. 

John irving writes so wittily about 
the misapprehensions of review- 
ers that it takes some courage to 
embark on an account of his lat- 
est novel, Tfie World According to 
Garp — though I am comforted a little 
by the fact that he clearly has friends 
in both camps, and that his novel is in 
a sense a review of itself, and of his 
own literary pilgrimage. But it is not 
merely a book about writing a book: 
in the first chapters, his defensive, dis- 
tancing techniques strike more than the 
reality of the subject matter: it is only 
gradually that the meaning is released. 
This is just as well, for the book con- 
tains almost intolerable pain. It is a 
bloody package, and if he had flung 
this in front of us we would have 
backed away in horror. As it is. we 
read on, at fiitt entertained, then puz- 
zled, then trapped, wanting to look 
away, but by this time unable to avert 
our eyes ... or at least, this is what 
happened to me. 

The plot is so full and so bizarre that 
any summary of it will make it sound 
even more grotesque than it is. Its hero. 
T.S. Garp. wrestler and author, is the 

Margaret Drabble s most recent novel is The 
Ice Age; others include The Realms of 
Gold and The Needle's Eye. She has also 
written critical studies of ■ William Words- 
worth, Thomas Hardy, and Arnold Bennett. 



by Margaret Drabble 



son of Jenny Fields, nurse and author 
and feminist heroine before her time. 
He was conceived in a singular and 
one-sided manner by his determined 
mother, reared in the infirmary of 
Steering School, taken off by Jenny to 
Vienna to become a writer, returned 
to marry his childhood sweetheart, 
daughter of the wrestling coach at 
Steering, as motherless as he is father- 
less. His mother's autobiography be- 
comes an international best-seller in 
the feminist market: nurses' uniforms 
named after her, embroidered with lit- 
tle red hearts, become a top-selling line. 
With her money, Jenny Fields opens a 
home for women and subsidizes her 
son's literary adventures. Her son's 
career is less spectacular, and opens 



with a long short story, "The Per 
Grillparzer," incorporated in full ii 
text; we are spared his next oe\ 
Second Wind of the Cuckold, abo 
physically handicapped foursome, ( 
prising one stutterer, one blind i 
one suffering from uncontrollable 
ulence, one with an uncontroll 
spasm of the right arm. His wife H< 
who is his first and best literary cr 
does not like it, and nor, by imp 
tion, would we, the readers. But 
his third work. The World Accort 
to Bensenhaver, Garp achieves h 
and not surprisingly: this time his ! 
ject is rape and his style has beo 
as merciless as his subject matter, 
gentle publisher, the amiable J 
Wolf, markets the book on its se 




82 



by Richard Miller 
Bohemia is the first and only book to 
record and interpret the philosophi- 
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underlie and dictate the goals of the 
youth movement worldwide. 

AT YOUR BOOKSELLER $14.95 hardcover 
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aspects, which are not far to 
and Garp, like his mother, be- 
; a best-seller, though nobody is 
clear whether he has produced 
rst man's feminist novel, or the 
wicked of male chauvinist out- 
Both mother and son are de- 
■d by the turbulence unleashed 
d them, and by this time, alas. 
;ader has ceased to question the 
y or unreality of the Garp world, 
legitimacy of the Garp/Irving 
iques: mad though they are, the 
rid is madder, as full of fana- 
l, extremism, assassinations, loy- 
and survival. 



is A baffling book in many 
a\^. Beneath the surface lies a 
.olid, suburban, everyday life, 
here men worn about their chil- 
are mildly unfaithful to their 
i crack up when their wives are 
ithful to them ; an ordinary life of 
ing and jogging in the park and 
nas and students, the kind of life 
which John Irving at his college 
ermont ( if he is still there ) is 
•tless familiar. Garp's perceptions 
is children, his anxious protective 
his rebellion against and accep- 
e of this deadly anxiety, are beau- 
ly done: there is a fine scene where, 
■ied about the fecklessness of the 
ler who has invited his son to stay 
the night, he creeps around to spy 
ne o'clock in the morning, and sees 
ugh a window in the lethal rays of 
:elevision 

rammed against the sagging 
mch the easual bodies of Duncan 
nd Ralph, half in their sleeping 
>ags, asleep (of course), but looti- 
ng as if the television has mur- 
lered them. In the sickly TV light 
heir faces look drained of blood. 

s sense of death round the corner 
ws in the novel, and finally domi- 
es it: the Garp family calls it the 
ler Toad, after a misapprehension 
Garp's baby Walt about warnings 
inst the undertow in the ocean. Ev- 

anxious parent knows the Under 
id, and I am not sure if anxious 
ents should be recommended to read 

book, for the way in which the 
id gets Walt is really too much to 
r, even dressed up as it is in such 
lacabre array of horror, 
'he macabre elaboration is. I imag- 



ine, designed to diminish rather than to 
intensify the book's message about tin- 
violent insecurity of the world we are 
forced to inhabit. But Irving'.- fantasies 
are so near the bone that three-quarters 
of the way through the novel I began 
to wonder whether perhaps there really 
was an American feminist society called 
the Ellen Jamesians, named after a 
child rape victim named Ellen James 
whose tongue had been cut out by her 
attackers. Lost tongues, lost ears, sev- 
ered penises, blinded eyes, broken 
bones, Gothic nightmares, Jacobean 
melodramas, tasteless jokes about dis- 
ability: it all sounds like a self-indul- 
gent fantasy, the kind of clever crea- 
tive-writing-school trick writing that 
one would go a long way to avoid. But 
it isn't that, at all. 

For one thing, it does have a good 
deal to say about feminist movements 
and the changing roles of husbands 
and wives. Garp is a good housewife, 
happy with the supper and the shop- 
ping, and it is no accident that one of 
the most sympathetic characters is a 
transsexual. More important, to me, 
was the novel's commentary on what 
I have to call the creative process, pre- 
tentious though those words always 
sound. Irving has some sharp comments 
on reviewers who look for autobiog- 
raphy in fiction, and the quarrels of 
Garp's biographers after his death 
ought to make one pause, but they 
don't. It is obvious that Garp/Irving 
is commenting in the novel on liv- 
ing's own literary career: his first nov- 
el. Setting Free the Bears, was set in 
Vienna and featured bears and the 
Vienna Zoo, as does Garp's first imag- 
inative effort, "The Pension Grillpar- 
zer." The second novels of both remain 
unknown to me. though I was pleased 
to note a chapter heading. "Second 
Children, Second Novels, Second Love," 
that seemed to imply a natural coin- 
cidence of these three events, a coin- 
cidence I have noted in women writers 
before, but not in men, or not at least 
confessed by men. The worlds of Ben- 
senhaver and Garp and Irving are the 
worlds of the mid-thirties, of mid- 
career, when a crushing awareness of 
an accumulating store of memory, 
most of it unpleasant, threatens to warp 
and inhibit the imagination. living's 
account of this process is particularly 
interesting. Unlike poets, most novel- 
ists seems to look forward to middle 
age, and to the fund of experience and 



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GARRY 
WILLS 

examines Jefferson's 
Declaration of 
Independence - 
and ours. 

The author of Nixon Agonistes 
and Bare Ruined Choirs cuts 
through the past century's pious 
regard for the Declaration as a 
"symbolic" document to show 
v\ hat was new and important in 
Jefferson's original draft. "It all 
adds up to a uniquely fresh and 
readable interpretation of 
America's basic manifesto!' 
—Publishers Weekly. $10.00 

INVENTING 
AMERICA 

•IDOIBLEDAV 



83 



BOOKS 

observation upon which the older writ- 
er can draw: after all, many major 
writers didn't even start until they 
were older than Irving now is. More- 
over, most novelists tend to look upon 
personal tragedy as something that can 
eventually be made useful, turned in- 
to grist for the mill; the more the 
writer suffers, the more he has to write 
about. 

Irving . challenges this assumption. 
His protagonist looks back to the days 
of visionary gleam, when he could write 
purely, happily, from out of the air, not 
from out of himself. These days have 



gone. Garp, struck down by the death 
of his son, for which he bears terrible 
responsibility, looks back to the first 
sentence of his first book, and says: 

Where had it come from? He tried 
to think of sentences like it. What 
he got was a sentence like this: 
"The boy was five years old; he 
had a cough that seemed deeper 
than his small, bony chest." What 
he got tvas memory, and that made 
muck. He had no pure imagina- 
tion any more. 

This is finely said, though luckily un- 
true, for the novel itself contains muck. 



memory, and imagination, ^nd f 
muck gives it a weight that Set 
Free the Bears lacked. The zaniness 
been replaced by stoicism, and 
jokes are now black. But there are 
tenderness, respect, humanity. I 
ticularly liked publisher John \K 
surely one of the most apprecia 
portraits ever drawn by a writer 
smokes himself to death, for his " 
restlessness and unrelieved pessim 
could only be numbed by smol 
three packs of unfiltered cigarettes 
day." Forget the bears: the wolves 
do fine. 



THE CRITIC AS A CULTURAL CONFIDENCE MA 



by John Lahr 



New York Jew, by Alfred Kazin. 307 
pages. Alfred A. Knopf, $10.95. 

To be both a New Yorker 
and a Jew is to be in the van- 
guard of overachievement. A 
city of aliens, New York re- 
flects the metabolism of the uprooted 
in search of a destiny. And the Jew, 
who so dominates the rich cultural 
and business life of the city, defers to 
no man in either success or suffering. 
Lucid and impassioned, dispossessed 
and insatiable, the Jew makes a myth of 
his solitude, thus turning himself into 
an aristocrat of ambition. Alfred Ka- 
zin's New York Jew is, as the title 
proclaims, an exercise in such racial 
mythmaking. Kazin puts himself into 
the geography of the city and into the 
literary landscape of postwar Amer- 
ica, an experience as spellbinding and 
often unsettling as New York itself. 

"I was hungry for it all," he writes 
of his early omnivorous reading bouts 
at the New York Public Library which 
formed the groundwork for his major 
critical study, On Native Grounds. 
"Hungry all the time." An appetite 
for triumph is built on a diet of re- 
jection. Kazin asks to be taken as a 
prototype: and in many ways, in both 
accomplishment and impoverishment, 

John Lahr is the author most recently of 
Prick Up Your Ears, a biography of Joe 
Orton, to be published by Alfred A. Knopf 
in the fall. 




TT 1 



he is. Son of a Russian immigrant 
house painter — "an unreachably lone- 
ly, self-centered, always peculiar man 
who was not like other Jewish fathers, 
not a hustler and bustler, not active 
for his children" — and an "illiterate 
housebound" mother, it is not hard 
to see why Kazin so avidly sought re- 
birth in the mainstream of American 
intellectual life. Where his parents 
never mastered English, he would be- 
come a . liter and scholar of Amer- 
ica's literary heritage. Where they 
were impotent and adrift in a society 
that promised more than it delivered, 
he would gravitate toward the secure 
and powerful role of critic, dispensing 
validation and at the same time find- 
ing it. In a book distinguished by its 
literary command, no portraits have 
more ferocious clarity than those of 



Kazin's troubled parents. Their f, 
ure still haunts him: at once his gi 
and glory. Out of their gross limi 
tions came an obsession with maste 

Like all dreamers, Kazin is mo\ 
by the punishing dignity behind 
very American faith in self-transc 
dence. A man of many careful disti 
tions, his passion can't be decoyed 
style when writing of his old friei 
the historian Richard Hofstadter, w 
shared Kazin's early fascination w 
"America the powerhouse": "Thi 
were terrible fears for his life, e\ 
fiercer ambitions, that he seemed 
hold together by the will to write a 
to hold out. to dominate himself. 
loved him. . . ." 

In a society ruled by a work eth 
willpower and output are everythii 
In Hofstadter and another super! 



84 



i ijf^ 

iJ ched acquaintance, Edmund Wil- 
M , ambition and moral courage seem 

■ coalesce. They are among the ex- 
M :ions in Kazin's tableaux vivants 
I America's literary scene. Kazin is 

■ n ravished by the dreams of his 
ious friends. Walking with Saul 
low in Brooklyn, Kazin remem- 
; him, even before he'd written his 
t novel, as "measuring the world's 
ter to resist him, he was putting 
iself up as a contender. . . . He had 
Iged himself to a great destiny." 
fessionally concerned more with 
duct than with personality, Kazin 

never really face the delirium be- 
d the dreams of so many of the 
rary figures he describes. All those 
ters destroying themselves, and the 
pie around them in pursuit of their 
lificance! The cost to life is never 
important to the critic as the qual- 
of the work, a cruel intellectual 
s that leads even as discriminating 
lan as Kazin into awful confusions, 
more Schwartz, who died impov- 
>hed and insane, is glibly dismissed 
ause he didn't suffer enough for 
)d art: "Delmore could be mad- 
nng, but he never relaxed into the 
t madness of art." The novelist 
ac Rosenberg confounds Kazin be- 
lse he won't give up living for lit- 
ture: "I could never be sure how 
ious Isaac was about writing. . . . 
lived not like a writer but like a 
iracter in search of a plot." And 
Ivia Plath, whose work had not 
ived Kazin when he taught her at 
lith, finally impresses the critic 
en she embraces her dementia: "As 
)oet she would not become alive and 

j ghtening until she faced her fasci- 

1 tion with her own death." 




AZIN came on the New York 
literary scene in 1942, when 
On Native Grounds made its 
impressive debut and the 



>.w Republic simultaneously took him 
j . as an editor. He was launched; 
>jv York Jew recaptures the wonder 
id sweet success of those days. Ka- 
n soon began reaping the benefits of 
iing a cultural middleman. The nar- 
tive winds its way through Brook- 
n and the Village and the numerous 
atering holes of the literary stars 
id starlets: Yaddo, Black Mountain 
ollege, Schloss Leopoldskron, I Tatti, 
'ellfleet ("The beach was full of in- 



teresting and notable people to talk 
to"). "I lived my life among brilliant 
intellectuals," Kazin writes. 

What is strange and sad is how 
little of their intellectual power gets 
into Kazin's otherwise admirable por- 
traits. Ideas are only salt to Kazin's 
stew. The real meat is gossip. And 
since, in the politics of celebrity, one 
is only as famous as one's friends, New 
York Jew is chock-a-block with big 
names: Robert Frost, Hannah Arendt, 
Henry Luce, James Agee, Lionel Tril- 
ling, Cartier-Bresson, Clifford Odets, 
Bellow, and Wilson, to name but a 
glittering few. Kazin is not above 
serving up a tidbit of acquaintance 
(Brecht, Berenson, Stieglitz) and 
making it seem a meal. Power, how- 
ever elegantly disguised by style and 
intellect, is what Kazin sought and 
what he responds to most eloquently 
in his city: 

It was a constant challenge just 
to walk up Park Avenue [he writes 
of New York in the 1940s]. The 
straightness of the streets — col- 
umns in a bookkeeper's account 
book — made you run and claw 
your way to your goal. There was 
always an immediate goal. Up and 
down, straight and across, num- 



bered and ranged against each 
other like a balance sheet, the 
great midtown streets were glow- 
ing halls of power. . . . Its beauty 
rested on nothing but power, 
teas dramatic, unashamed, flinging 
against the sky like a circus act, 
one crazy "death defying" show 
after another. . . . 

As a celebrated survivor, Kazin is 
not interested in the dark side of pow- 
er. His New York has been eroded by 
the very ethic that made it great. 
When he considers the ugliness and 
the destroyed life along Manhattan's 
Upper West Side, he sees it only as 
material: "This too human landscape 
can be suffocating but is interesting 
to write about." 

New York Jew has a stylish veneer; 
but style is both a mask and an ad- 
mission. Kazin on writers is smart, 
sure, eager to impress with flourishes 
that often have more sound than sense. 
"Life [for Edmund Wilson] was one 
elaborately constructed sentence, and 
he had been sentenced to the sentence." 
Kazin on Kazin is a different matter. 
New York Jew becomes insecure and 
pretentious when it moves from the 
heart of the book world to the world 



CR A H A Wt| O P A Q U E 
A T ° I J O C O S E IT" U "d" U 

1 I— 4H— 1 i r-l 

Z O R OA S T E RjAlvIc 

e | F U D G E | R | pljO R A L 

B E N G A L I S | N | T | R | I 

ORG A m"^cJh A Z E D 

Y O U N gTc H O R I S T 

jdJtJa|i|s e a w . a t e r 

> I R K j T I C I N E W E "T| E 
iTc | D^O RANGEMAN 
I E J<J OPE R A w| D 

U M sjx E N Q M S 



D 
E 
L 

S I 



Notes for "Abecedarian Jigsaw" Solution to the June Puzzle 

1. angstrom, anagram; 2. Anne-X; 3. Bengalis, anagram; 4. chorist, anagram; 5. 
dirk, k(R)id (reversal); 6. erotic, c(it)ore (reversal); 7. Euclid, anagram; 8. fudge, 
two meanings; 9. gaze-B.O.; 10. gra(anagram)-ham; 11. ha-zed; 12. (w)ho-(G)od; 
13. ice caps, spac e-c.-l (rev.); 14. Jo(co.)se; 15. kron-A; 16. kudu, Duk(E) (rever- 
sal)- 1 -!.; 17. lawn, pun; 18. lien, homonym of "lean"; 19. Mosel, hidden in reversal; 
20. (do)ne-we-L; 21. n.-ikon; 22. opaque, hidden; 23. O-p-eras; 24. (m)oral(e); 
25. Orangeman, anagram; 26. organic, anagram; 27. ost (anagram)-rich; 28. peep 
show, anagram of "hopes" in "pew"; 29. quartzite, anagram; 30. roof, f(0)or (rever- 
sal); 31. seawater, anagram; 32. sed(ge and m)ums; 33. t. -rends; 34. unguarded, 
anagram; 35. Varese, anagram of "severa(l)"; 36. wean, anagram; 37. xenons, ana- 
gram; 3'6 yodels, anagram; 39. young, two meanings; 40. zO (reversal) -roaster. 



87 



BOOKS 



of the heart. Three times married, Ka- 
zin strains in prose to keep the artifice 
of the successful man of culture in- 
tact. "My mind was beating new wings 
across the water in the park," he writes 
in one purple patch about the love 
affair that would lead to his second 
marriage. And later, with unwitting 
but terrifying aloofness, he summarizes 
their relationship: "For more than 
anything else except our son Tim, I 
would be grateful to her for Italy." 
Kazin's two children come in for in- 
cidental but loving mention, as if. like 
the children of any local tradesman, 
they grew up while he was minding 
the store. Still, it's touching to find 
him wistfully meditating on his son's 
game of catch and how the baseball 
gradually became a symbol not of 
sharing but of rebellion. "The curve 
ball he throws at me still harder every 



year, more derisive, certainly more 
difficult to catch." This is as close as 
Kazin comes to evoking genuine vul- 
nerability as a father. 

Kazin tells us that Stieglitz's "Steer- 
age" hangs above his writing table. 
The famous photo reminds Kazin of 
the reigning passions of his life: his 
woebegone parents, his Jewishness. the 
great American experiment, the suf- 
fering, and his triumph. He has come 
a long way: and yet still a stranger 
in a city where he cannot rest. But 
as he mentions only in an aside, the 
Stieglitz photo is really of immigrants 
leaving America. The dream is more 
important than the reality. Kazin can't 
seem to draw rich insights and energy 
from the confusing events of the past 
two decades — perhaps because the lit- 
erary scene has lost some of its am- 
perage, perhaps because in his celeb- 



rity he's stopped questioning the sc 
ciety whose literature he's discusset 
so brilliantly. But he soldiers on wit! 
the critic's mischievous intuition tha 
if he is to be important he must mak 
his scene significant. So, despite it 
oppressive death dealing. New York t< 
him "is even more splendid." And i 
the quality of life gets more thread 
bare, well, "we are the best historian 
of our own death." 

New York Jew, for all its many plea 
sures, is too patchy and too chic t( 
equal the high standard Kazin set foi 
himself with A Walker in the City anc 
Starting Out in the Thirties. But iu 
limitation is perhaps more symptomat 
ic of an attenuated modern America 
where hype is fast replacing history 
and where, to maintain his influence 
the critic must become something of £ 
con man as well as a man of culture. C 



BOOKS IX BRIEF 



Violet Clay, by Gail Godwin. 324 
pages. Alfred A. Knopf, S10. 

Unlike the adolescent Diirer or Hol- 
bein the Younger (hard acts to fol- 
low), Violet Clay must postpone her 
self-portrait for a while — until she has 
a true self to portray. Violet has much 
in common with the Gothic heroines 
whose terror she paints for a living: 
perpetual maidens running in full 
scream from the dark realities that 
menace them. Every Gothic reader 
knows there will be a "shapely, roman- 
tic conclusion," a happy transforma- 
tion of lurking menaces into devoted 
husbands. All our boarding-school fan- 
tasies told us so. 

Abruptly Violet loses her job paint- 
ing Gothic book covers and her Un- 
cle Ambrose commits suicide. So much 
for the romance of the young South- 
ern girl making her way as a painter 
in glamorous New York. Violet is 
forced to set aside her facile render- 
ings of art and life and concentrate 
on essentials. This is best done in the 
upstate New York cabin where Am- 
brose died, a place unhaunted but cu- 
riously demanding. Ambrose was an 



artist, too: a novelist who wrote one 
best-seller and lived the rest of his life 
on charm and self-deception, his South- 
ern capital. Violet takes a more hon- 
est way. Friendships help: memories 
begin to make sense: art deepens and 
thrives. No hero performs \ iolet's res- 
cue; she rescues herself. For true 
heroines, the happy ending is not the 
love of Mr. Rochester but the integrity 
of independence. 

Gail Godwin is too practical to be 
pompous about these grave concerns. 
She shares with Margaret Drabble an 
impartial sense of humor and the civil- 
ized context in which her heroines 
dwell: the old-fashioned assumption 
that character develops and is good for 
something besides the daily recital to 
one's analyst. In quick sketches and 
full portraits. Violet Clay catches num- 
bers of quirky, beleaguered women 
being themselves in New \ork, in 
Charleston, South Carolina, and in 
Plommet Falls, upstate. All are be- 
lievable except one dea ex machina of 
astonishing self-sufficiency. 

Godwin's fine earlier book The Odd 
Woman had much to say about the 
Pre-Raphaelites, the most literary of 



painters. V iolet Clay, in its unpreten- 
tious exploration of the creative pro- 
cess, shows Gail Godwin as a painterly 
writer, and a very good novelist in- 
deed. — F. T. 

Set in Motion, by Valerie Martin. 
210 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 

$8.95. 

There is a scene in Set in Motion, 
Valerie Martin's first novel, in which 
a welfare applicant pulls an amputated 
toe from his pocket and drops it on 
Helene's desk to demonstrate his need 
for food stamps. This is what every- 
one does to Helene: they reveal their 
amputations, which are mostly of the 
soul, and bang the table with personal 
demands. Helene complies as best she 
can, disbursing food stamps to the 
hungry. Seconals to her junkie boy- 
friend, attention and sex to the fiances 
and husbands of her women friends. 
It is disturbing to watch her do this, 
and more disturbing to discover that 
she relishes the role. She likes to con- 
template her own passivity. She en- 
joys watching Reed risk an o.d. every 
time he shoots up. The image of her 



88 



vn vulnerability titillates her, which 
to ?ay that Helene, like some narcis- 
»tic Jake Barnes, turns out to be suf- 
ring from a psychic amputation of 
;r own. Patiently we wait to observe 
st what part of her is missing. 
And then . . . then comes one of 
ose wretched moments out of Holly- 
ood psychoanalysis or est when the 
ig suddenly lifts, when health renews, 
hen optimism and resolve sprout like 
lips. "Do you think you could stop 
ying to kill yourself?" Helene un- 
tpectedly asks Reed. And Reed an- 
rers, a little dismally, "I guess I 
)uld try." 

How to explain such a scene, given 
le prehistory of this couple? How 
in \ alerie Martin expect us to be- 
eve that stability and sense are un- 

icountably blaring their bugles right 
ver the horizon? It is not that she 
icks insight or control. She's got a 
larp eye for character, good lan- 
uage, dialogue, pacing, and certainly 
le better half of a good novel. The 
jet that Helene's world cannot be 
lanipulated at will testifies to the 
ower of Ms. Martin's creativity. Per- 
aps she only lacks nerve, the courage 
3 follow her characters in the dark. 
)r perhaps it is a matter of values: 
erhaps literature has never quite lost 
ight of its ancient missions of char- 
terer improvement and moral exhor- 
ation. — P. B. 

Visible Man: A True Story of Post- 
•acist America, by George Gilder. 
J49 pages. Basic Books, $10.95. 

In his previous book, The Naked 
Vomads, George Gilder reported the 
;tatistical evidence for regarding the 
'unmarried ghetto male ... as the 
source of much of the violent crime in 
:his country." Visible Man fleshes out 
hat evidence by profiling one "young 
□lack male, single, fatherless, violent." 
Sam Brewer (only the name is ficti- 
cious I has spent the latter half of his 
twenty-five years in the Albany ghetto, 
in and out of work and fights and the 
beds of several women. In 1975 he did 
time while awaiting trial (and even- 
tual acquittal) on a charge of raping 
a white woman, a controversial case 
prosecuted by a woman who was at 
the time Albany's first female assistant 
D.A. and a consultant for its first rape 
crisis center. 

The case made Sam a perfect 



target for reporters, editorial writers, 
and sociologists, and thus gave him a 
visibility as brief as it was bright, 
born of the current moment's requisite 
outrage and concern — Sam in a bad 
light. Gilder goes beyond the limita- 
tions of that view, not with the mere 
objectivity of Susan Sheehan's Welfare 
Mother, but in a keen-eyed, compas- 
sionate study that jives, jogs, and 
lunges through the ghetto. 

He portrays an individual whose 
growth to maturity has been stunted 
by a pattern of fatherlessness that 
began with his own illegitimacy and 
continues to his two children, who, 
along with their mother, receive a 
steady, comfortable income courtesy 
of the federal government. This "wel- 
fare trap," more than any of the ghet- 
to's other myriad inhumanities, wastes 
people and ensures that the pattern of 
fatherlessness is repeated: "Not one 
of the men in Sam's life in Albany, 
old or young, is married and living 
with his wife and children." Unsure 
of how to be a father, and unneeded as 
a breadwinner, Sam flees frustration 
to search the streets and bars for dig- 
nity — a search that most often ends 
in fights and bloodshed: hence the 
violence, and from there one small 
step to crime. Gilder doesn't offer solu- 
tions, although his comparative anal- 
ysis of conditions among the poor in 
Sam's home town, Greenville, North 
Carolina, shows that there are alterna- 
tives to the ghetto's evele of broken 
lives. —J. B. 

To Dance: The Autobiography of 
Valery Panov, with George Feifer. 
397 pages, illustrated. Alfred A. Knopf, 
$15. 

Valery Panov, one of the great danc- 
ers of our time, is better known in the 
West as a cause celebre. In 1972 he 
and his wife, both members of the 
Kirov Company, applied to emigrate 
from the Soviet Union to Israel. The 
red tape and the harassment were 
diabolical: Valery was briefly impris- 
oned on trumped-up charges: he and 
Galina might have vanished entirely if 
it had not been for the outcry raised 
by valiant friends in the West. The 
Frances Taliaferro teaches English at the 
Brearley School in New York City. Paul Ber- 
man has taught American history at Brooklyn 
College, and contributes regularly to a num- 
ber of magazines and journals. Jeffrey Burke 
is copy editor of Harper's. 



politics of detente prevailed, and in 
1974 the Panovs left the U.S.S.R. 

Valery, ne Shulman, was the child 
of an assiduous Communist father who 
patiently suppressed his Jewish bour- 
geois origins, the better to survive. His 
father's insistence on gray conformity 
was countered by his mother's color- 
ful style: a classic stage parent, she 
pushed Valery into his first ballet les- 
sons in Lithuania. Valery, with his 
"nonstandard body" and his acrobatic 
imagination, was far from the wan 
ideal of the male dancer in the 1950s; 
he embodied a new athleticism, an ir- 
repressible energy that still must be 
bent to the acquisition of technical per- 
fection. After years of study, unruly 
but splendid, he joined the Maly Thea- 
ter in Leningrad. 

Panov's narrative vigor draws the 
reader into a world both exotic and 
unglamorous. The Maly, Leningrad's 
"cozy family house of opera and 
dance," is vividly contrasted to the 
Kirov, the temple of art, the cathedral 
of technique to which Valery aspired 
and was eventually admitted. The Kir- 
ov Company is as large, the produc- 
tions as lavish, as in Imperial days 
when it was the Maryinsky Theater. 
The difference is in the Communist 
party bureaucracy that both supports 
and corrodes it. Petty corruption is as 
common in the Soviet theater as on 
Broadway: Russian artists, however, 
must also suffer constant surveillance, 
regulation, and punishment by a party 
that equates artistic originality with 
"bourgeois depravity." To Dance is 
a fascinating portrait of an intricate 
professional world. It is also a record 
of everyday oppression, homelv and 
insidious. 

Panov is a generous observer, hard- 
er on himself than on others. "Like a 
captured jackrabbit" at school, he was 
also a romantic boy who wooed his 
first love with chocolate layer cake (a 
powerful seduction in sweet-starved 
Russia) . Active and impulsive, he mar- 
ried in haste at nineteen and repented 
through a long adolescence, which 
yielded at last to the love of a good 
woman as well as to deepening con- 
victions. Unpretentiously but with nat- 
ural dignity Panov communicates "the 
great majestv and great sadness" of 
Russia. This fresh, instructive book 
has much to teach the general reader 
as well as the balletomane. — F. T. 

HARPER'S/JULY 1978 



89 



AMERICAN MISCELLANY 



BARBED WIRE 



and the art of stringing it 



by John Fischi 



IF YOU GREW UP in a city, it is pos- 
sible that you have never had oc- 
casion to look closely at a barbed 
wire fence. In that case, it might 
be fun to try to invent it, in imagina- 
tion, for yourself. It sounds easy. You 
only have to set two posts in the ground 
and string between them wires, fitted 
with barbs at about six-inch intervals. 
The problem is to fix the barbs so firmly 
that a heavy animal brushing against 
the fence will not break them off, or 
slide them along the wire. If they slide, 
you will soon have all the barbs shoved 
up against one post or the other, with 
a naked wire in between. Another prob- 
lem is to figure out a way to make 
your wire cheaply and fast — that is, 
with machinery requiring a minimum 
of hand labor. 

You might think of soldering on the 
barbs, but that quickly turns out to be 
a poor idea. The soldered join is in- 
herently weak, and since each one has 
to be made by hand, the process would 
be prohibitively expensive. Another 
possibility is to take a ribbon of steel 
about one inch wide, cut zigzags along 
one side to form sharp points, and then 

John Fischer is an associate editor of Harp- 
er's. This article is taken from From the 
High Plains, an informal history of the set- 
tlement of the High Plains of Texas and 
Oklahoma, to be published in September by 
Harper & Row. ro 1978 by John Fischer. 



twist the ribbon as you string it. This, 
too, has been tried and found imprac- 
tical. The ribbon can be rolled, and 
cut by machinery, but it is too heavy 
to handle easily, uses too much ex- 
pensive steel per foot, and is too weak 
to resist the impact of a charging bull. 
Another abortive scheme involved 
spiked spools strung on a wire. 

According to the Bivins Museum in 
Tascosa, Texas, 401 patents for barbed 
wire have been recorded, and more than 
1,600 variants have been catalogued. 
Out of all these attempts, only two 
proved successful. Both were patented 
at nearly the same time by two neigh- 
bors in De Kalb County, Illinois: Jo- 
seph F. Glidden and Jacob Haish. 
Whether they got their ideas indepen- 
dently, and who got his first, are ques- 
tions that have provoked much ex- 
pensive litigation. Their concepts were 
quite similar. Each involved clasping 
barbs around a wire at appropriate in- 
tervals — and then twisting that wire 
together with another one, so that the 
barbs are tightly gripped between the 
two. The only essential difference, to 
the eye of anyone but a patent lawyer, 
was in slightly variant methods of clasp- 
ing the barb. 

Whether or not Glidden was the 
original inventor, he certainly was the 
more successful businessman. He made 



his first wire in 1873, forming the bar 
with a converted coffee grinder 
twisting the twin wires in his barn wi 
a hand-cranked grindstone. He sold I 
first wire, and took out his patent, 
1874. That same year he formed a pai 
nership with a neighbor, I. L. Ellwoo 
and built a factory in De Kalb. Befo 
the end of the next year, their factoi 
was turning out five tons of wire a da 
using improved, steam-operated m 
chinery. In 1876 Glidden sold a ha 
interest in his invention to the Wa 
burn and Moen Manufacturing Cc 
pany of Worcester, Massachusett 
which had been supplying him wil 
plain wire: in payment he got $60.00 
plus a royalty of 25 cents for evei 
hundredweight of barbed wire sold. 

How profitable this deal proved 
be can be glimpsed from the followii 
figures. In his first year of manufa 
ture, Glidden sold 10.000 pounds 
wire. Two years later, Washburn ar 
Moen sold 2.8 million pounds. Withi 
the next five years, sales mounti 
more than 80 million pounds a year- 
yielding Glidden an income of moi 
than $200,000 annually, the equivalei 

*Washburn and Moen eventually mergt 
with the American Steel and Wire Cor 
pany, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. Ame 
ican Steel and Wire's museum in Wo 
cester is the prime source of inform 
tion about barbed wire. 



2. STAPi-ES FOR. EACH FASTENING — 
ON INSIPE OF POSTS 



— » fi" ■ * * 



90 



1 1 least $1 million today, and that 
| before the era of income taxes. 
H manufacturers' profits amounted 
h any times that. 

I uch of his wire was being shipped 
exas. Glidden and his money fol- 
d it, leaving a permanent impress 
he settlement of the High Plains 
Especially on its main city, Ama- 
. There I came across his traces 
ly sixty years later. 
I jt in the meantime I had a chance 
■ >ecome well acquainted with his 
met. When I was eleven years old, 
grandfather John Fischer taught 
how to string wire during a sura- 
I spent on his homestead near 
che, Oklahoma. To my eyes he 
led a very old man, but he was 
wiry, lean, hard-muscled, and ac- 
omed to working from sunup till 
j after dark. 

ike inventing barbed wire, string- 
it is a more complex business than 
might think. First you find your 
;s. My grandfather insisted that 
' be either cedar, locust, or bois 
c, also known as Osage orange, 
se woods will last in the ground 
many years, while cottonwood or 
? will rot quickly unless creosoted 
nd we had no creosote in those 
s. Some he cut himself along a lit- 
sreek that ran across one corner of 
160-acre farm; others he bought 
bartered from neighbors. Each post 
to be exactly six feet long, 
^hen the posts were all collected, 
h a mule team and wagon, he stacked 
m near the edge of the pasture he 
nned to fence, and then marked his 
:. This he did with a borrowed sur- 
or's transit, a handful of stakes, 
I a few rolls of binder twine. At 
rty-foot intervals he scratched a 
rk on the hard prairie soil to in- 



dicate where he wanted each post to 
go. One of my jobs was to make a hole 
in the ground with a crowbar at each 
mark, and fill it with water from a five- 
gallon, galvanized-iron milk can. thus 
softening the earth for my grandfather, 
who followed me with his post-hole 
digger. 

The first post set, to a depth of 
precisely two feet, was of course at a 
corner of the tract he was going to 
enclose. It had to be braced in both 
directions of the future fence lines. For 
braces he used two other posts planted 
diagonally in the earth with their feet 
anchored against heavy stones; their 
top ends he sawed at the proper angle 
and fastened to the corner post with 
tenpenny nails. Then we set about the 
weary labor of digging holes and set- 
ting intermediate posts until we came 
to the place he had marked for his 
next corner. We had to do only three 
sides of the forty-acre pasture, because 
the fourth side abutted a field enclosed 
years earlier; but at that, the post-set- 
ting took us the best part of two weeks. 

Then we drove the wagon into Apache 
to get a load of wire. It came on 
big wooden spools, so heavy that the 
hardware dealer had to help us load 
them. Grandfather let me drive back, a 
proud and nervous assignment for me, 
although the mules — named Pete and 
Repeat — were gentle enough. 

At the rear end of the wagon bed 
he rigged a pole, crosswise, to serve as 
a spindle on which a spool of wire 
could be mounted and easily unwound. 
We drove the wagon close to a corner 
post, twisted the end of the wire around 
it one foot above the ground, and stapled 
it fast. Next we drove along the line of 
posts for about 200 yards, unreeling 
wire on the ground behind us. There 
Grandpa stopped, unhitched the team, 



blocked three wheels of the wagon with 
rocks, and jacked up the fourth wheel, 
the rear one next to the fence line. He 
cut the wire and twisted the loose end 
around the axle of the jacked-up wheel, 
fastening it to a spoke for additional 
security. By turning the wheel, we 
wound the wire around the axle until 
it was taut. (There were patent wire- 
stretchers, but Grandpa did not own 
one. The wheel-stretching method 
worked just as well, and saved money.) 
After he had lashed the wheel to main- 
tain the tension, we went back down 
the line and stapled the wire to each 
post. Then we repeated the process, 
time after time, until we had the pas- 
ture enclosed with a standard fence of 
four strands, spaced a foot apart. We 
finished up by making a wire gate at 
the corner nearest the house. 

Three tips for fence-stringers: 

— Wear the heaviest leather gaunt- 
lets you can find. Even so, you are 
bound to get your hands and arms 
torn, so carry some iodine and band- 
ages with you. 

— Staple the wire on the side of the 
posts facing into the pasture. When a 
heavy animal runs into the fence, he 
will press the wire against the posts, 
not the staples. If the wire were on the 
other side, the staples might pop out. 

— Hang the expense, and use two 
staples for each fastening of the wire. 
One of them might someday rust or 
work loose. 

I haven't seen that fence in decades, 
but my brother told me a few years ago 
that it was still standing and tight. 
Probably it is the most nearly per- 
manent thing I have ever worked on. 
Certainly its useful life has been far 
longer than that of any article or book 
I have written. □ 
harper's/july 1978 




91 



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Genuine offer 10c\ Lindco, 3636-hrp Peterson. 

Chicago 60659. 

Old stocks and bonds researched for current value. 
Write S & B Search, 165 SW 97th, Portland 
Oreg. 97225. 



Grants, funded studies, subcontracts for experi- 
mental research, design, testing, manufacturing, 
and procurement services. For registration appli- 
cation, write University Design Center/Mobilia 
Productions. Dept. 2-3238, 5127 Rootstown Rd.. 
Ravenna. Ohio 44266. 



Stuff envelopes — clip news items — mail circulars. 
Free details. Robross, Box 8768H Boston, Mass. 



Import-export opportunity, profitable worldwide, 
mail-order business from home, without capital 
or travel abroad. We ship plan for no-risk exam- 
ination. Experience unnecessary. Free report. 
Mellinger. Dept. 1027, Woodland Hills, Calif. 
91367. 



Now!!! Beginner's guide to starting mailorder 
business. Informative booklet SI (refundable), 
Sterling Publications, P.O. Box 1014-H.»Dunedin, 
Fla. 33528. 



be president ot your own tax-exempt nonprofit 
corporation church. Other services available. Free 
details. TOU. 432-H PCH, Hermosa Beach, Calif. 
90254. 



S400 Weekly possible mailing circulars. Details: 
send stamped envelope. VHS. 14705 Drexel. Omaha. 
Nebr. 68137. 



Socioeconomic predictions. Make (or save! a for- 
tune in '78-'79. Only SI, SASE. C.A. Pickering. 
P.O. Box 20497. Baton Rouge. La. 70893 



Bumper sticker printing device. Cheap, simple, 
portable. Free details. Bumper, P.O. Box 22791 
(HP). Tampa. Fla. 33622. 



How to make money writing short paragraphs! I 
tell you what to write, where and how to sell, 
and supply lists of editors buying from beginners. 
Small checks can add up to worthwhile extra in- 
come. Write to sell right away. Send for free 
facts. Barrett. Dept. C77M, 8 S. Michigan, Chi- 
cago. 111. 60603. 



"Job Hunters Guide." How to get that job! De- 
tails: Jarecki, 39 Westport, Chicopee. Mass. 01020. 



ASSOCIATIONS 



Bertrand Russell Society. New. Information: Dept. 
HM30, R.D. 1, Box 409, Coopersburg, Pa. 18036. 



1 MPLOYMEN 1 INFORMATION 

Use your foreign language to get a better job. 
Comprehensive, factual guide. $4. Columbia Lan- 
guage Services, Dept. 227, P.O. Box 28365, Wash- 
ington. D.C. 20005. 

You don't have to choose between idealism and 
reality. Volunteer Peace Corps/VISTA. For in- 
formation, write Betty Funches, Peace Corps/ 
VISTA. Box P-4, Washington, D.C. 20525. An 
Equal Opportunity Program. 

Australia, New Zealand want you!!! 50,000 jobs! 
Paid Transportation! Latest information and 
forms S2. Austco, Box 8489-H, Long Beach, 
Calif. 90808. 

Men! Women! Jobs on ships. American, foreign. 

Guide, S3. Seafax, Dep. W-3, Box 2049 Port An- 
geles, Wash. 98362. 

Overseas jobs — now hiring, 103 countries, all oc- 
cupations, high pay, free transportation, tax ben- 
efits. Latest computerized reports — 52 TRANS- 
WORLD, International Airport, Box 90802-H, 
Los Angeles, Calif. 90009. 

xustralian opportunities — 50.000 Jobs! Free de- 
tails.. Jarecki, 39 Westport. Chicopee. Mass. 01020. 
Australia — complete employment information. In- 
cludes exclusive list 500-plus management recruit- 
ers/employment agencies with addresses. Com- 
panies listed. 21 pages. S3.95. Montfred Publica- 
tions. Box 2538H. N.Y.. N.Y. 10017. 

CLASS STRUGGLE ~ 
The first board game to show how capitalism 
really works — created by Dr. B. Oilman, profes- 
sor of politics at N.Y.U. Beginners, advanced, 
and tournament rules mak; it possible for chil- 
dren and adults to play the game for fun and 
(educational) profit. Mail S9.95 (includes handling 
& postage in U.S.) to Class Struggle. Inc., 487 
Broadway, Dept. H. N.Y.. N.Y. 10013 (N.Y. 
residents add S.80 sales tax.) 

OVERSEAS OPPORTUNITIES 
Overseas opportunities . . . $10,000-550,000 + . Free 
information! Employment International, Box 29217- 
HT. Indianapolis. Ind. 46229. 
Jobs overseas ... (Including Alaska). Free details. 
Wages. Countries, How to Apply. Global Em- 
ployment. Box 808-H. National City, Calif. 92050. 
Work overseas. Australia, Africa, South America, 
Europe, etc. Construction, Sales, Engineers, Cler- 
ical, etc. $8,000 to $50,000-;-. Expenses paid. For 
employment information write Overseas Employ- 
ment, Box 1011H, Boston. Mass. 02103. 

PROFESSIONAL FAMILY' SERVICES 
Single and divorced parents handbook. Contains 
exercises and ideas to improve communication 
and family unity. Send $3.50 to: Family Services. 
Box 20643. Salt Lake City. Utah 84I20'. 

ENERGY CONSERVATION 



Building a house? Conserve energy. Go subter- 
ranean! Instructions, general plans. S4. SASE. 
JIMCO. 11722 Mayfield. #1, L.A.. Calif. 90049. 



UNIQUE T-SIURTS 



Wildlife T-shirts — beautiful drawings of owl, lion, 
tree, frog, etc. printed in color on a color t-shirt. 
For free brochure send a SASE to: Tin Man 
Studios, Dept. 13, 1322 E. Dayton, Madison, Wis. 

53703. 



HISTORICAL T-SHIRTS, ETC. 



Plato KatVa Dickens Wittgenstein w Seich fteuc 
Jung, Darwin. Frank L Wright. Escolfiet. Rembrandt 
r engraving and 



' Sh BIS 'e 



"so:.-: 




BEFTHOVEN 



021 



Magical animal T-shirts for preservation of en- 
dangered species. Hand-screened — wild mustang/ 
stars, wolf/moon, whales, penguins, elephants — 
many more. Catalog: 35c. "The Ultimate Alligator 
shirt" in turquoise, white. Adults — $8, kids, $5, 
75« postage. Write Conscious Decision, 31 St. 
Marks PI. New York, N.Y. 10003. 



UNUSUAL GIFTS 



The original humu.i rights document. Magna Carta 
replica now available. Beautifully reproduced 
from the magnificent original at Lincoln Cathe- 
dral, England. Has nine outstanding coats of arms 
in color. Bring momentous history to someone's 
home. Guaranteed satisfaction. S9.50 ppd. SCI 
Products, Dept H-l, 1501 Robert, New Orleans, 



JULY 1978 



93 



PUZZLE 



TRISKAIDEKACODE 

by E. R. GaUi and Richard Maltby, Jr. 



This month's instructions: A simple code has been created 
by taking a 13-letter word with no repeating letters, writ- 
ing the other 13 letters, in alphabetical order, under that 
word, and then making vertical substitutions. For instance, 
if the code's base word were LUMBERJACKING, the 
following code would result: 

LUMBERJACKING 
DFHOPQSTV WX Y Z 
and the word TIMBER would be encoded as AXHOPQ. 

Tire answers to the tour clues printed in italics are to 
be*- entered in the diagram in code, the base word of which 
must determined by logical deduction. To complete the 
puzzle, enter the code's base word in the squares provided 
below the diagram. 

Answers include four proper names; 24 Down is un- 
common, and 15 Down, while common, is not in all dic- 
tionaries. As always, mental repunctuation of a clue is the 
key to its solution. 

The solution to last month's puzzle appears on page 
87. 

CLUES 



1 


2 


3 




4 




5 




6 


7 




8 


9 














10 


11 








12 














13 
















14 




15 










16 




17 












18 




19 








20 








21 
















22 
















23 






2A 


25 












27 


















28 








29 










30 










31 














32 








33 
















34 












35 













ACROSS 



1 . It's legal (and terrible) after 50 (6) 

5. Skinless peach devoured by pig, walrus, or hippo 
(3, 3) 

9. Direction: twist hair up around the ring — high (8) 

1 1. Circling barn owl's cry (4) 

12. Intend entering cost of shelter and clothing (7) 

13. Sudden move from clumsy churl (5) 

17. Misprints are art! (6) 

18. Air is bad when surrounded by worthless element (6) 

20. Burn Rachel's turnover (4) 

21. Qualities of courage at mass, in converts (8) 

22. God may light a new way (8) 

23. Shark swimming amok (4) 

25. Feel bad about mom, or any lady (6) 

27. Hack politician . . . tipper? (6) 

30. Kid a Latin aggregate (5) 

31. Thrown in hold: soft-hearted whale (7) 

32. Vibratory sounds were! (4) 

33. He follows letter of the law for ages till it gets re- 
written (8) 

34. Lifted two Kennedys (6) 

35. Movie of French reversion of paradise (6) 



DOWN 



1 . Old Persian's relations with king upset (6) 

2. Raquel, red when bust fell out (9) 

3. Came without it, raised about two farm animals — 
cleverly done (12) 

4. When heart is cross, outwits adversaries (4) 

5. Zits unfortunately hit high school — washing tubs 
needed (4, 5 ) 

6. Border wind-up (4) 

7. Nine in St. Louis wise to high church position (12) 

8. A bit of extremely toxic fluid from abroad (6) 
10. Watery growth found in tidal garden (4) 

14. Girl who goes to pot when embracing Juan! (5) 

15. Took the lead with Grease first, being witless (9) 

16. Friend's belief could show same quirk (9) 
19. Made poetry aloud, submerged in Frost (5) 
22. Equal and overt hearts tremble (6) 

24. Religious statues: gold article, saint ascending (6) 
26. Sucker halfway in lounge (4) 

28. Sport bird (4) 

29. Exploding shells from Southern State Parkway me- 
dian (4) 



CONTEST RULES 

Send completed diagram with name and address to Triskaide- 
kacode, Harper's Magazine, Two Park Avenue, New York, 
N.Y., 10016. Entries must be received by July 7. Senders of 
the first three correct solutions opened will receive a one-year 



subscription to Harper's. The solution will be printed in the 
August issue. Winners' name will be printed in the September 
issue. Winners of the May puzzle, "Diametricode," are Leon E. 
Boodey. Broomall, Pennsylvania; Lorraine Hackman, Lake- 
wood, Colorado; and M.F. Lipworth, Chattanooga, Tennessee. 



94 



FOR $ GG45 YOII CAN 
5UY A CHEAP CAR. OR 
AN EXPENSIVE ONE. 



It's no longer true that you get what you pay for. 

j At least, it isn't true among the 1978 models, 
lat s because — for about the same money — you can 
come the disappointed owner of a cheaply made 

J r or the satisfied owner of one that's well made. 

j Luckily, the cheap ones can give themselves 

| /ay to anybody who bothers to look closely. Doors, 
•od and trunk lid don't fit properly. The paint job 
dribbled in some places, spotty in others (especially 
i top of the hood). The trunk is a wasteland of raw, 
ifinished surfaces. Rattles are constant companions. 
Volvos, on the other hand, are known for being 



solidly built and painstakingly finished. And Volvo 
owners confirm it. In a recent independent national 
survey, a significantly higher percentage of owners 
of new Volvos rated their cars "excellent" in terms of 
overall quality of workmanship than did the owners 
of all 57 American makes surveyed^ 

The amazing thing is that, for the price of many 
of the cheap cars, you can own an expensively built, 
well-equipped Volvo. ..the 1978 Volvo 242 in a 
dealer's showroom near you. 

Why settle for less when the price is no more? 

VOLVO 



IpncePOE for the Volvo 242, 




delivery charges and "Lambda Sond emission control syst 






DLVO. A CAR YOU CAN BELIEVE IN. 




IT TOOK TEN YEARS 
BUT WE FINALLY GOT YOUR 
NUMBER. 



Decades got your number. 
Only 5mg. of 'tar 

Now you might be won- 
dering why it took us ten years 
to reach 5mg. Well, if we were 
simply interested in lowering 
'tar! we could have done it in a 
lot less time. After all, others 
have. 

But this wasn't just a num- 
bers game to us. Our goal was to 



reduce 'tar' without removing 
taste. So we took our time. 

Finally, after ten years, we 
were good and ready. We had 
developed our 'Total System." 
A totally unique way of deliver- 
ing truly satisfying taste in a 
5mg. cigarette. That's why we 
say Decade is "The taste that took 
ten years to make." 

Every part of a Decade ciga- 
rette is arranged in perfect bal- 
ance with the others. The 
tobacco, the filter and even the 
paper. Only by concentrating on 
these parts are we able to perfect 
the whole. 



So try Decade. We think 
you'll agree that 5mg. can be a 
very tasty little number. 




Regular and Menthol. 



Warning: The Surgeon General h s Determined 
That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerou 3 Your Health. 



15 mg. nicotine ave. per cigarette by FTC method. 




ing Soviet Dissidents 6 

by Walter Reich, M. D. 

Augustl978^$1.25 

rpetis 



by William Tucker 
In which scientists and environmentalists argue about 
^e right way to kill insects 






T.D. Allman: EGYPT'S GRAND ILLUSION 
Joel Agee; PASSAGE TO EAST RERLIN 
Leonard C. Lewin: BIOETHICAL QUESTIONS 



"NOlOS TO««CCOC 



NOW 

If s a satisfy i ng 
decision. 




Like many people you may recently 
have switched to a lower tar cigarette, with 
milder flavor. 

But as your tastes have changed, you 
may have found yourself reaching for a 
cigarette even lower in tar. An ultra-low tar 
alternative that satisfies your new tastes 
in smoking. 

Then the decision is Now. 
Now has only 2 mg. tar. And bear this 
in mind: today's Now has the most satisfying 
taste in any cigarette 
so low in tar. 




Now 




Only 2 mg tar. Significantly lower than 98% of all cigarettes sold. 



Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined 
That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health. 



FILTER. MENTHOL 2 mg. "tar". .2 mg. nicotine av. per cigarette by FTC method. 



The books you want in your home 
come from the Book-of-the-Month Club. 




299 Daniel Martin. John 
Fowles (Pub price $12,951 

417 The Complete Medical 
K\am: What Your Doctor 
know-,,. Critical, What You 
Know is Crucial Isadore 
RoM-nU'ld. M.D. 
il'uh price $10.95) 

237 Metropolitan Life. Frat 
Lebowitz (Pub price $8.50) 

561 In Search Of Enemies 

A CIA Story. John Stockwell 
(Pub price $12.95) 



582 Pub 
price $10 

331 The Magus: A Revised 
Version. John Fowles 
(Pub price $12.95) 

464 Women Of Crisis: Lives 

of Struggle and Hope Robert 
Coles and Jane Hallowell Coles 
(Pub price $10.95) 

197 The New York Times 
Book Of House Plants. Joan 
Lee Faust. Illus. 
(Pub price $9.95) 



World 
AccorSmg 
a Qarp 



364 Pub 
price $10.95 

383 The Psychological 
Society: A Critical Analysis of 
Psychiatry. Psychotherapy. 
Psychoanalysis and the 
Psychological Revolution. 
Martin L. Gross 
(Pub price $10.95) 



SJzhenitsyn 

GULAG 

! Archipelago 



Katorqi 
Ex,l< 
Is No More 



427 Pub 
price $16.95 

U8 Economics In Plain 
English: All You Need to 



About Fconomics-in 
age Anyone Can 



")96 Experiencing Science 

Jeremy Bernstein 
(Pub price $11.95) 

334 From Julia Child's 
Kitchen. Julia Child 
Illustrated 
(Pub price $15) 



I THE MEMOIRS OF 

RICHARD 

INTXON 



445 Pub 
price $19.95 

586 Mortal Friends. James 

Carroll (Pub price $10.95) 

698 Perjury: The 

Hiss-Chambers Case Allen 
Weinstein (Pub price $15) 

551 Beyond The Moon. Paolo 
Maffei. Translated by D J.K. 
O Connell (Pub price $12.50) 

469 How I Got To Be Perfect 

Jean Kerr (Pub price $8.95) 



Susan Sontag 



Illness as 
Metaphor 




494 Pub 
price $555 

559 Jerry Brown: The Man on 

the White Horse J D Lorenz 
(Pub price $8.95) 

229 Options: A Personal 
Expedition Through the 
Sexual Frontier Marcia 
Seligson (Pub price $8.95) 




420 Inventing America 

Jefferson's Declaration of 
Independence Garrv Wills 
(Pub price $10) 

576 Legend: The Secret World 
Of Lee Harvey Oswald. 
Edward Jav Epstein 
(Pub price $12.95) 

319 The Age Of Uncertainty 

John Kenneth Galbraith 
Illustrated (Pub price $17.95) 

584 Perdido. Iill Robinson 
(Pub price $9.95) 



The important books, by the important 
writers. That's what Book-of-the- 
Month Club members know they can 
count on. Whether they're the stars of 
contemporary fiction or important 
works of non-fiction, they are the 
books that matter. And every one is 
identical in size, paper, type and bind- 
ing to those sold in bookstores. You 
select from the best and you never 
settle for the altered or inferior 
editions that some book clubs send 
their members. 

Continuing Club benefits also 
include significant savings and conve- 
nient at-home shopping. And when 
you remain a member after the short 
trial period, each book you buy earns 
Book-Dividend® credits. These entitle 
you to enormous savings on current 
art books, reference sets, literary clas- 
sics, records and children's books. Join 
Book-of-the-Month Club now. Because 
there's really no wiser way to acquire 
a fine home library than to shop for it 
in America's Bookstore. 




493 Pub 
price $9.95 

578 Violet Clay. Gail Godwi: 
(Pub price $10) 

263 By The Rivers Of 
Babylon. Nelson DeMille 
(Pub price $10) 

699 New York Jew. Alfred 
Kazm (Pub price $10.95) 

387 To Dance. Valery Panov 
with George Feifer Photos 
(Pub price $15) 



Choose any 
4 books for 4 

You simply agree to buy 
4 books within a year. 



Facts About Membership. You receive the 
B(X)k-t>f thc-Month Club News,® a literary 
magazine, 15 times a year (about every 3V2 
weeks). Each issue reviews a Main Selection 
plus scores of Alternates. If you want the 
Main Selection do nothing. It will be shipped 
to you automatically. If you want one 
or more Alternate books-or no book at all — 
indicate your decision on the reply form 
always enclosed and return it by the date 
specified. Return Privilege: If the News 
is delayed and you receive 'he Main Selection 
without having had 10 days to notify us, 
you may return it for credit at our expense. 
L ancellations: Your membership is cancelable 
at any time after you have bought 4 addi- 
tional books. Simply notify Book-of-the- 
Month Club. 



Book-of-the-Month Club, Inc., Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17012 8-A67-8 

Please enroll me as a member of Book-of-the-Month Club and send me the 
4 books I've listed below, billing me $1, plus postage and handling charges, 
for all 4 books. I agree to buy 4 more books during the coming year. A post- 
age and handling charge is added to each shipment. 



Indicate by number 
the 4 books you want 



Mr 

Mrs.. 
Miss 



10 



(Please print plainly I 



Address Apt.. 



Zip 



BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB® 

AMERICA'S BOOKSTORE* 

Since 1926, 330 million books in 15 million homes. 



ALMOST EVERYONE HAS A $10,000** IDEl 
HERE'S HOW TO MAKE IT PAY. 



By Ernest P. Weckesser, Ph.D. 



Several years ago, while I was teaching college 
in Indiana, I stumbled across a "money" hobby 
that has changed my life. 

Oddly enough, I discovered it while browsing 
through magazines in a drug store. In almost 
every magazine there were dozens of small ads 
selling one basic thing— printed information. 

The financial magazines contained small ads 
for "newsletters," "reports" and "booklets." The 
science and mechanics magazines were loaded 
with classified ads for all sorts of "how-to" books, 
"instructions," "plans," etc. 

I was most surprised by the fact that almost all 
the ads were placed by individuals— not by large 
companies. 

This was too fascinating to resist. I decided to 
place two small ads myself. 

I put together a booklet containing some of 
my best wine recipies and another about Austra- 
lia. A few days after the ads appeared I stopped 
by the post office. 

When I looked through the little glass window 
on my P.O. box, I almost dropped my key. The 
box was stuffed— jammed — packed full of 
envelopes. Hundreds of orders containing cash 
and checks! I couldn't believe it. 

$9,450.00 IN 45 DAYS 

When the dust finally settled around our 
house, I talked with other successful advertisers. 
I discovered . . . 

1. A young graduate student in Texas markets 
a body-building manual for $3.00 He uses one 
classified ad in six magazines. It's strictly a spare- 
time activity but he reports earnings of $300.00 
monthly. 

2. A retired U.S. Army sergeant in Arizona 
wrote a 24-page booklet. His three $17.00 
classified ads brought him $300.00 in cash orders 

3. A Kentucky woman selling a 15-page travel 
booklet for $1.00 was literally swamped with 
orders. In 87 days her classified ad running in 
six magazines made a net profit of $2,230.00 
from a gross of $3,250.00. She was 69 years 
of age, widowed and living alone in her apart- 
ment at the time. 

4. A husband-wife team in Oregon compiled 
their own "how-to" booklet. They put a small 
display ad in one newspaper. Within only 45 
days that one ad pulled $9,450.00 in cash orders 

Don't misunderstand This isn't a get-rich- 
quick scheme. It's a business, and, as such, it's 
speculative. But test ads are cheap (as low as 
$13.50 for a national ad) and the profit poten- 
tial is staggering! An Ohio man I spoke with put 
a large display ad in a nation?! Sunday supple- 
ment. A few days later the orders started pouring 
in— mail sacks full of cash! Within the next two 
months he received over $220,000.00 in CASH 
orders for his $3.00 booklet. 

I realize this all sounds too good to be true. 
But here's a way you can actually verify what 
I'm saying In your home or office. 



TRY THIS TEST 

* First, obtain several magazines contain- 
ing classified ads. You don't have to buy 
them . . . just borrow them from the library. 

* Second, get old copies of the same 
magazines— at least 10-13 months old. 

★ Third, turn to the classified sections of 
each and place the old magazine beside the 
new magazine. 

# Fourth, compare both. Cross-check 
each one to see how many ads in the old 
magazine are still running in the new edition. 

THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE PROFIT TEST. 

It has to be. People don't continue run- 
ning ads for over a year unless they're making 
money at it 



WHY NOT YOU? 

Consider these facts: 

• It's simple to begin . . . just an hour a week 
can get you started at home. 

• It's inexpensive to begin . . . I'll show you 
how to place a test ad in a national magazine 
for only $13.50. Your total starting investment 
can be less than $25.00. 

• You don't have to write a booklet yourself. I'll 
show you an easy way to get hundreds of 
different books at wholesale prices or less. 

• If your test ad produces even a modest profit 
you can run wild with it. The whole nation is 
yours. 

• Your profit margin may exceed 1,000%! My 
wine book cost 36 cents to print yet sold for 

$3.98. 

• It's private. Even if you begin making 
$75,000.00 a year you can run your entire 
business from your home or apartment 

•Jt's safe. Information booklets and newsletters 
aren't breakable, mechanical or chemical. 
They're easy to mail in small envelopes and can 
be stored in a closet. 

• You don't have to be a "writer". My first effort 
was only 14 pages and sold for $1.98. I had it run 
off for 8C a copy. Even so, it pulled in thousands 
of dollars, month after month. 

• The market is almost infinite My own "best- 
sellers" include . . . 101 Ways To Fix Ham- 
burger, How To Win Contests, How To Stop 
Smoking, How To Make Champagne At 
Home, and others . . 

I want you to see this for yourself That's why 
I put everything . . . every secret ... in a 
simple, easy-to-follow beginners guide. It's en- 
titled. Dollars In Your Mailbox. 
I'll show you . . . 

•Where to get hundreds of books wholesale. 

•Where to advertise . . . which magazines and 

newspapers are most profitable. 

•Where to get national ads for less than $15.00. 

•How to have your own booklets printed for 

less than 12c each. 

•How to save 40% on all printing. 

•How to get "free" advertising and publicity. 

•How to start with no money in stock or supplies. 



•How to word your advertisement. 
•How to start a newsletter. 
•How to rent your mailing list for extra 
PLUS 

All the forms, lists, and details you'll n 

begin. 

HERE ARE SOME 
READER COMMENT 

•" . . . Through the use of Dollars in 
Mailbox I started my own publics 
It sold 402 copies in just five days ..." 

J.J.,Cali 

•"Super! I'm converting 22% of my inc 
using a classified ad in Rolling Stone i 

zine." 

T.M., Mar 

•"Excellent! I've gotten 600 subscribers 
newsletter in the first year ..." 

V.J., Mis 

•"Enclosed is a pamphlet I wrote after 
ing Dollars in Your Mailbox. It sold 400 e 
from an ad in the Atlanta Journal at 
each ..." 

F.A., Fli 

•" . . . the enclosed booklet is one I 
printed and have done WELL with . . . Th 
to you!" 

R.D., PennsyK 
•"I can honestly say that your book is 
best I've ever read!" 

G.R., Ari, 

MONEY-BACK 
GUARANTEE 

Again, this is not some kind of get-rich-c 
scheme. This amazing business really works. 
I'll prove it to you at absolutely no risk to you. 

I'll send you a copy of Dollars in your Mai 
for 60 days without obligation. A full two mon 

You can read it . . . and try it. If you're 
satisfied, simply return the book and I'll send 
a full refund within 3 working days — no nonsc 
no delays 

Our offices are located in Dunkirk, New > 
We belong to the Dunkirk Chamber of Comm 
Our telephone number is 716-366-8300 V 
there from 9-5 on weekdays. 

To receive your copy, just wnte the title, Dol 
in your Mailbox on a piece of paper and se 
to Green Tree Press, 10576 Temple R< 
Dept.51-1. Dunkirk, New York 14048, tog« 
with your check or money order for $12.9 
you wish AIR MAIL delivery, please add 
dollar. Or you may charge it to your Ma 
Charge or Visa account. For extra fast ser 
call us at 716-366-8300 and, give us the c 
card Information over the phone. 

You'll receive my materials for two montl 
absolutely no risk to you. That Is our un 
dltlonal guarantee. 

©1978 Green TreeP 



Harper's 

auauauauaMaHLuauafl AUGUST 1978 MBI FOUNDED IN 1850 VOL 257, NO. 1539 



Tom Bethell 18 THE LIBERAL CARTER 

You can tell a man's politics by his friends. Mr. Carter's politics has recruited 
an illustrious — and suppressed — roster of liberal stalwarts. 

Leonard C. Lewin 21 BIOETHICAL QUESTIONS 

The economics of health care raises awkward questions about the value of life. 

Walter Reich, M.D. 31 DIAGNOSING SOVIET DISSIDENTS 

Psychiatric abuses are not as simple as they appear, and the psychiatrists 
seldom need to take orders from the KGB. 

Jaroslav Hasek 38 FROM THE HISTORY OF THE PARTY OF MODERATE PROGRESS 
WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE LAW 
A short story 

William Tucker 43 OF MITES AND MEN 

The insect control advocated by Rachel Carson and favored by scientists 
has been sabotaged by the environmental movement. 



Joel Agee 61 WALKING ON THE WALL 

Interpreting a dream in East Berlin as a commentary 
between freedom and justice. 

ARTS AND LETTERS 



on the difference 



DEPARTMENTS 



Jean C. Howard 28 



BED SIDE 
A poem 

BOOKS 

A review of In Search of 
Identity: An Autobiography, 
by Anwar el-Sadat. 

A review of A Savage War 
of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962, 
by Alistair Home. 

Earl Shorris 84 A review of The Life of 

the Mind, by Hannah Arendt. 



T.D.AUman 75 



Timothy Foote 81 



Helen Yglesias 86 



A review of Burning Questions, 
by Alix Kates Shulman; 
Bad Connections, by 
Joyce Johnson; and 
Perdido, by Jill Robinson. 

88 BOOKS IN BRIEF 



Lewis H. Lapham 

Torn Wolfe 
John Haines 



E. R. Galli and 
Richard Maltby, Jr. 



4 LETTERS 
4 MacNelly 

8 THE EASY CHAIR 
On risk and flight 
in America. 

73 IN OUR TIME 

94 AMERICAN 
MISCELLANY 
Tales of dislocation 
and estrangement. 

100 PUZZLE 

Superfluities 



Cover photograph by Jerry Sarapochiello 



EDITOR: Lewis H. Lapham 
ART DIRECTOR: Sheila Wolfe 
EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Suzanne Mantell 
ASSOCIATE EDITOR : John Fischer 
COPY EDITOR: Jeffrey Burke 

ASSISTANT editors: Deborah VKGill . Matthew Stevensc 
WASHINGTON EDITORS: Tom Bethell, Jim Hougan 
EDITORIAL ADMINISTRATOR: Angela Santoro 
POETRY EDITOR : Hayden Carrulh 

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS : 

T. D. Allman. Timothy Dickinson. Annie Dillard. 
Barry Farrell. Samuel C. Florman, Johnny Greene, 
Sally Helgesen, Russell Lynes, Peter McCabe, 
Michael Macdonald Mooney, George Plimpton, 
Earl Shorris, William Tucker 

riUes, Jeff MacNelly, 



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LETTERS 



Realms of gold 



Tom Bethell's "The Wealth of Wash- 
ington" [June] was not up to stan- 
dard. I am a GS-11 physicist ($18,258/ 
vear ) working for the federal govern- 
ment. According to Mr. Bethell, I 
should be getting rich. I am not. Ac- 
cording to Mr. Bethell I should be 
paying $9.50 every two weeks for my 
Blue Cross High Option health insur- 
ance. I am currently paying $24.86. 
According to the author I should be 
paying 8 percent on my car loan at 
the White Sands Federal Credit Union. 
Unfortunately I am currently paying 
12 percent. According to Mr. Bethell 
I should be making free long-distance 



phone calls. Unfortunately my tele- 
phone bill is just as high as everyone 
else's is. According to the Federal Pay 
Schedule in Mr. Bethell's article it is 
possible (within a given grade) to get 
to the top in only ten years. In actual 
fact, it takes more than twenty years. 

It is grossly unfair to characterize 
the thousands of honest, hard-working 
government employees based on the 
actions of a few bad apples. 

Curtis L. Gladen 
Las Cruces, N. Mex. 

The typical government worker's sal- 
ary doesn't come close to the $20,000- 
plus figure Bethell cites as the "aver- 
age salary" paid to federal workers in 
the Washington, D.C., metropolitan 



area. Indeed, more than two-thirds o: 
all government workers in the nation's 
capital earn less than $20,000. Eight) 
percent of those earn less than $15,000 
Kenneth T. Blaylock 
National President 
American Federation o: 
Government Employees 
Washington, D.C. 

Tom Bethell replies: 

A high-level official in the Office of 
Management and Budget provided me 
with the $20,740 figure (average Wash- 
ington-area government salary) and it 
has been widely cited elsewhere. In 
any event, Mr. Blaylock's contention 
that two-thirds of all government work- 
ers earn less than that does not con- 



-jtinim. 





V AFRICA J*^ 



4 



J ERS 

■In the statistic. The two statistics 
I insistent provided the remaining 
I earn substantially more than 
I 00, and this of course is the case. 
1 reply to Mr. Gladen, there are 
H rous health plans available to 
jj al workers, as I said in my arti- 
Similarly, federal credit unions 
;e rates of interest on loans vary- 
tetween 8 and 12 percent. I am 
he is paying the maximum. I 
ved that it was possible, not oblig- 
, to make free long-distance phone 
It is true, as Mr. Gladen says, 
in-grade step increases are not 
al, as was suggested by figure 8 
npanying the article. After step 4, 
linimum promotion period is two 
i, and after step 7, three years, 
ever, this is rarely applicable be- 
i the vast majority of employees 
promoted "vertically" to higher 
es before reaching step 10. 
nally, it is not a matter of good 
ad apples in government service, 
i convinced that the vast majority 
avernment workers are intelligent, 
onsive, and industrious. The prob- 
is the noncompetitive system they 
a part of: analogous to the posi- 
a writer would be in if he had no 
llines, but was assured of a gener- 
check each month. Most writers, 
i apples though they might be, 
Id produce very little under such 
irrangement. 



erman response to terrorism 



•avid Zane Mairowitz in "Scissors 
the Head" [May] is light-hearted 
l facts. 

'here are some errors. There are 
> omissions, evasions, and implica- 
is, manipulated so as to create the 
>ression of a willful stifling of dis- 
t by the German government. 
Mairowitz ignores the agonizing par- 
nentary debates engendered by both 
so-called Berufsverbot and terror- 
i. In the latter, West German leg- 
itors had somehow to create effec- 
i machinery for dealing with ter- 
ism without undermining the dem- 
atic institutions that terrorists seek 
overthrow. 

Vlairowitz minimizes the extent of 
: terrorist threat in order to make 
seem like a "pretext" for repres- 
n. In West Germany, terrorists have 
led 28 people, injured 92, attempted 



to murder 106, and held 162 hostage. 
With their international connections, 
the ease with which they find refuge 
in other countries, their unlimited ar- 
senal, and their willingness to kidnap 
and murder at random, terrorists 
ought not to be portrayed like a Wild- 
West gang of "a few desperadoes." 

Mairowitz describes the so-called 
Berufsverbot measures inaccurately. 
Literally a prohibition against engag- 
ing in one's profession, Berufsverbot 
is the popular term given to proce- 
dures designed to screen out applicants 
for public-sector jobs if they advocate 
the destruction of the constitution. It 
does not differ in intent from the loy- 
alty oath requirements for government 
employees in many democratic coun- 
tries. Since it applies only in the pub- 
lic sector, everyone in the private sec- 
tor is free to practice his profession as 
he wishes. But far from having no re- 
dress, as the author contends, rejected 
applicants can avail themselves of a 
hierarchy of appeals. These include 
hearings at the agency to which the 
application has been made, interagency 
review, and, in the last resort, the 
courts. Though the appeals procedures 
may vary somewhat from state to state, 
all applicants must be informed in writ- 
ing of the reason for their rejection. 
The author contends that the proce- 
dures are being abused. Perhaps, but 
in the one case of abuse that he cites 
— the teacher in Bavaria — Mairowitz 
contradicts his own statement that no 
relief is provided by the courts when 
he is forced to mention that the re- 
jection was upheld in an appeals court. 

Finally, there are the contentions 
that the government in Bonn has over- 
reacted and is fostering a climate of 
repression. But again the author fails 
to mention the 464 daily and weekly 
newspapers and 10,000 magazines and 
journals in Germany which range 
from the extreme Right to the extreme 
Left and continue to publish their opin- 
ions freely and without censorship. 
There are more influential and widely 
distributed leftist publications in Ger- 
many than in the United States. 

It is important to remember that 
Germany's one previous democracy, 
the Weimar Republic, proved unable 
to defend itself against the then Nazi 
terrorists and found no way of keep- 
ing Nazis from infiltrating the civil 
service, where they worked to bring 
about tht; end of the republic. This 



time, we are determined to hold on to 
democracy. 

Dr. Carl Heinz Neukirchen 
Director 

German Information Center 
New York, N.Y. 

David Zane Mairowitz replies: 

Dr. Neukirchen's letter, to use his 
own words, is full of "omissions, eva- 
sions, and implications," manipulating 
both my article and the facts to give 
the impression there is no "stifling of 
dissent by the German government": 

1. The German "loyalty oath" does 
differ from that in other countries be- 
cause of the scope of the German 
public sector. Other democratic coun- 
tries do not require loyalty oaths from 
garbage collectors and train drivers. 

2. Dr. Neukirchen is referring to 
the law as written. My article speaks 
about its current application. The Be- 
rufsverbot laws may be "designed to 
screen out applicants ... if they ad- 
vocate the destruction of the constitu- 
tion," but in practice they merely pre- 
vent those with left-wing views from 
holding down state jobs. There are in- 
deed complex methods of appeal, but 
only a handful of cases in which dis- 
missals have been overturned. And 
even when an appeal has been won, 
reinstatement has not always followed, 
as in the case of Hans Roth, a teacher 
from Hessen. 

3. Yes, there are numerous freely 
printed and disseminated left-wing 
journals, almost all of which can be 
found registered on a list kept by the 
German border police for surveillance 
and harassment purposes. This list 
was recently published in the respect- 
able daily paper Frankfurter Rund- 
schau, and in others. 

4. My article shows that current re- 
pressive legislation is being used 
against left-liberal opinion and not 
against terrorists, as Dr. Neukirchen 
suggests. To refer the debate constantly 
back to terrorism — when not one ter- 
rorist has ever been prosecuted under 
these laws — is an official smokescreen. 

5. The Nazis came to power not 
only through acts of terrorism, but by 
manipulating the democratic process 
and the right-wing civil servants of 
the Weimar Republic. By constantly 
equating left-wing opinion with ter- 
rorism they opened the way for the 
march of fascism in Germany. □ 

harper's/august 1978 



5 



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THE EASY CHAIR 



PERSPECTIVES OF FLIGHT 



Notes for a journal 



The toad beneath the harrow knows 
Exactly where each tooth-point goes; 
The butterfly upon the road 
Preaches contentment to the toad. 

— Rudyard Kipling 

FOR THE PAST FEW MONTHS I 
have been making notes on the 
feeling of dread that seems to 
afflict so many of the officials 
and quasi officials who conduct the 
national debate and formulate the pub- 
lic policy. I think of them as belonging 
to an equestrian class (of lawyers, gov- 
ernment functionaries, journalists, ac- 
ademics, corporate and foundation 
hierarchs ) that sustains itself by substi- 
tuting words for things. They have a 
faith in abstraction, and until quite 
recently I think that they believed that 
their abstractions more or less accu- 
rately represented the world of events. 
But since the election of President Car- 
ter I notice that they have begun to 
lose confidence in their epistemology. 
I cannot say that I blame them for this, 
but their panic and anxiety set a poor 
example for the people whom they 
would lead and instruct. They remind 
me of first-class passengers traveling 
in an airplane at an altitude of 43,000 
feet, careening through the upper air 
at greater and more efficient speeds, 
but knowing nothing of aerodynamics 
and wondering if something might be 
wrong with the engines. 

They exist in a suspension of time 
and space, afraid of an environment 
they didn't make, feeling themselves 
always and unjustly (i.e., through no 
fault of their own) besieged by risk. 
The stewardesses do everything pos- 
sible to conceal the risk, to soothe the 



passengers, and to persuade them that 
nothing unpleasant can happen to them. 
The passengers remain unconvinced. 
They know that the plane sustains it- 
self by unnatural means and that only 
a few feet away from them the im- 
mense forces of the universe shriek like 
banshees along the wings. 

Their fearfulness is not easy to de- 
scribe. Although I can sense it almost 
as if it were a palpable thing, I'm not 
sure that I can make it visible. The 
following set of notes deals with as- 
pects of what I take to be a shriveling 
of the American spirit and the loss of 
courage on the part of people in per- 
petual flight. 

IN the new YORK times this morn- 
ing (June 15) I see that things 
have gone from bad to worse. This 
is an observation that any diligent 
reader of the paper could make when- 
ever he had a mind to do so, but rarely 
have I noticed so many proofs of the 
general desire to conceal the world of 
experience behind a veil of words. In 
Skokie, Illinois, the American Nazis 
receive a permit to march through a 
neighborhood in which live Jewish sur- 
vivors of the concentration camps. Ob- 
viously the Nazis have it in mind to 
humiliate the Jews and to celebrate the 
glory of Auschwitz. But the American 
Civil Liberties Union, supported by the 
New York Times and other voices of 
enlightened humanity, chooses to over- 
look the murderous intent. The phari- 
sees retreat into ceremony, and so find, 
no doubt after much high-minded dis- 
cussion, that the march deserves the 
Lewis H. Lapham is editor of Harper's. 



by Lewis H. Lapha 



protection of the First Amendmei 
Presumably they would come to t 
same conclusion if the Ku Klux Kl 
decided to march through Harlem. 

From Saudi Arabia I read a repo 
to the effect that two British citizei 
have been flogged for making bee 
The British government makes nothiij 
but the most diffident protest for feil 
of offending the princes who suppi 
them with oil and who own so mucj 
property in London. 

Elsewhere in the paper I notice th;| 
Mario Cuomo has agreed to run fo; 
lieutenant governor of New York ol 
the ticket with Governor Hugh Care 
Only a year ago Mr. Carey withdre 
his promised support for Mr. Cuomo < 
mayoral campaign, thus using him % 
carelessly as he might use a towel i 
a public toilet. Mr. Cuomo doesn't ol 
ject. Smiling into the television can 
eras, he promises to work for peac< 
justice, and decency. 

Also in the paper I read a speech i: 
which President Carter blames Fide 
Castro for allowing the Lunda tribes 
men to invade Katanga. Mr. Carte 
either doesn't know or chooses to foi 
get that nobody, not even James Res 
ton or Andrew Young, can reason wit 
a savage. When the Lundas get drun 
they like to kill people. But Mr. Carte 
is a pious man. Like the ACLU, h 
dare not but believe in ceremony. 

In the intellectual amphithes 
ters people take elaborate pains t 
obscure the meaning of what the 
say and write. They might h 
proven wrong by events, and in th 
meantime they do not want to give o: 



8 



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THE EASY CHAIR 



fense. Who knows what is going on in 
Libya or Washington? Who knows 
what politician will be elected to what 
office, or what dictator will surround 
what palace with whose tanks? The 
man who hopes to keep open all his 
options for money and preferment does 
well to say what he thinks everybody 
else is saying. The debate minces along 
like a dog on a leash. The acceptable 
arc of thought compares to enclaves in 
which people live (either in high-rise 
apartment buildings or in the heavily 
guarded suburbs) and to the narrow 
perimeters set up by American troops 
in the jungles of Vietnam. 

ON A plane coming east from 
Houston at the end of May I 
found myself looking at the 
design of the Mississippi Riv- 
er and thinking about the deceptions 
implicit in the view from 43.000 feet. 
At that height the landscape dissolves 
into lines on a map, and for a moment 
I could imagine that I was looking at 
what the equestrian class likes to call 
"the big picture." The topography of 
Arkansas presented itself in the form 
of an abstract painting about which I 
could make the kind of critical analysis 
practiced by literary critics and Pres- 
idential advisers. Everything seemed so 
easy to perceive and understand. I 
could distinguish between the straight 
lines of man's invention and the soft, 
alluvial shapes of the ancient flood 
plain: further to the east I could ob- 
serve and categorize the changing tex- 
ture of the land as it shifted into forest 
and the Appalachian Mountains. Given 
the advantages of height and speed, I 
could believe that I knew as much 
about Arkansas as the poor souls 
obliged to build the roads or work the 
farms that I perceived as pretty dia- 
grams. The geometric clarity of the 
view reminded me of Time magazine 
and the idiot omniscience of the me- 
dia, of earnest men gathered around 
conference tables, busilv dividing the 
world into free-fire zones and spheres 
of economic interest. I remembered a 
prominent journalist telling me that 
one underdeveloped country was like 
any other underdeveloped countrv. He 
spoke of them as if they ■were stage 
sets against which it might be possible 
to play out the dramas of geopolitical 
theory and ambition. 

But if I turned away from the uni- 



versal truth that shimmered in the far 
distance, what remained? I was left 
with the equally uninteresting image 
of my own face in the window. At 
43,000 feet the middle distance disap- 
pears, and I could choose between the 
broad perspective so beloved by mak- 
ers of public policy and the narrow re- 
flection of self so much beloved by 
the human-potential movements and 
the legions of soi-disant revolution- 
aries trying on the Halloween cos- 
tumes of social and political dissent. I 
thought of the books written to be ad- 
mired by a small circle of critics in 
New York, of people "getting into their 
own heads," "doing their own things." 
going on journeys to India to "make 
a movie of my philosophy." The mirror 
provides them with a world as mal- 
leable as the one seen through the blue 
distance, a world in which they ar- 
range and rearrange the precious ob- 
jects of their experience. 

But it is the middle distance that is 
the locus of human society and the 
human family, of art and government 
and other people. No wonder the 
United States has so much trouble with 
its politics and its attempts at liter- 
ature. Instead of using the imagination 
as an instrument through which to 
perceive and understand the world, the 
equestrian class uses it as a means of 
escape. Nobody has any interest in the 
middle distance. Since World War II. 
parliamentary politics has fallen out 
of fashion together with any and all 
writing that seeks to describe social 
reality. The politicians promise to re- 
store the faithful to never-never land: 
the novelists and academic historians 
amuse themselves with theory and 
metaphor. 

Why, then, despite the 
most elaborate precau- 
tions, do so few people 
ever feel really safe? The 
society is obsessed with security in all 
its declensions — security police, na- 
tional security, risk-free foods, and 
political pamphlets. Even the word risk 
(together with words like additive, ar- 
tificial, plastic, and exposure) has come 
to connote something awful. 

The equestrian class prefers to live 
in enclaves — in heavily guarded apart- 
ment buildings, in suburbs protected 
by discriminatory zoning laws, in 
sealed-off atmospheres of gigantic bu- 



reaucracies and corporations, in wjj 
was the air-conditioned lunar mocM 
of the American military command* i 
Vietnam. These environments reseml | 
the enclave of the plane at 43,000 f. 
Either the plane falls down, or 
doesn't. The passengers have no use 
courage or compassion. Like hum 
the human virtues belong to the mid 
distance, to the realms of imaginati 
and feeling in which people have sor 
thing to do with one another. The m 
in the plane, like the child in the n 
sery, remains dependent on myster 
about which he knows nothing, 
wonder the poor soul feels so constan 
threatened by a nameless dread. He c 
no more rid himself of his unconscio 
fear than can the man who thinks t 
much about the prospect of thern 
nuclear war. Either the world dissolve 
or it doesn't: in the meantime the 
isn't much the man on the plane c 
do about it except to listen to the m 
sic and sign petitions. 

The well-bred passenger, of cours 
can complain about the champagne, r 
proves his moral sensitivity by sho 
ing himself capable of being blistert 
by a rose leaf. This is equivalent 
the earnest convocations sponsored I 
the Trilateral Commission, at whic 
people express their alarm about A 
rica and their concern for civil righ 
in Chile or Cleveland. How else ca 
they demonstrate their courage exce] 
by worrying about all the things thi 
could go wrong? The substitution c 
sensibility for action disguises the fac 
of one s helplessness. 

The "energy crisis" amount 
to little more than a redistr 
bution of comfort and authoi 
ity and a transfer of wealt 
among rival factions within the eque; 
trian class. All of a sudden the Unite 
States must pay higher prices for foi 
eign oil. The "wrong sort" of peop! 
get rich, and this inspires rumors aboi 
the end of the world. When I read th 
editorials in the New York Times aboi 
the energy crisis I think of a woma 
of enlarged pretension but reduce 
means who has been informed by he 
husband that she will have to fire tli 
gardener and maybe the chauffeur. Sh 
cannot bear the affront to her dignit; 
How dare they do this? What is tr 
world coming to? My God. the pn 
sumption. 



12 




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for smart 
people who 
aren't rich. 



THE EASY CHAIR 



Like the lady of reduced means, the 
American equestrian class finds it de- 
meaning to make do with fewer excite- 
ments. Nobody likes to discuss the loss 
of the Vietnam war or the failure of 
Keynesian economics. Once the war had 
been lost it became implausible, as well 
as impractical, to talk about the im- 
perial projections of American power. 
The Lnited States found itself much 
weakened, both in terms of its own 
courage and in terms of the way it 
was perceived by the rest of the world. 
Mr. Richard Nixon and his liberal crit- 
ics had their own reasons for choosing 
to portray themselves as pitiable and 
self-pitying giants. They made a show 
of weeping great, sad tears to demon- 
strate their appreciation of what thev 
believed to be their country's peril. To 
their embarrassment and surprise they 
found that their respective audiences 
accepted their performances as truth 
rather than illusion. 

The talk of an "energy crisis" con- 
ceals an arrangement that works toler- 
ably well I profitable for the wrong 
people, perhaps, but still profitable I 
and that reflects, with the degree of ac- 
curacy customary in dealings between 
nations, the balance of military and 
economic force that prevails in the 
world. Certainly it is preferable to buv 
the oil. even at preposterous prices, 
than to go to war for it. This cannot 
be satisfactorily explained to the ladv 
of reduced means, and so the press 
thunders against satanic Arabs, envi- 
ronmental ruin, and the earth's insol- 
vency. In these matters the press re- 
sembles the faithful butler who remains 
on the premises to reassure the lady 
of the house that none of this could 
have been foreseen and that it certain- 
ly isn't the family's fault. My good- 
ness. Madam, it isn't like the old days, 
is it? 



THE AM ERICAJN EQUESTRIAN class 
perceives the world as a 
nuisance, as an importunate 
beggar or blind man constant- 
ly asking for money. When I think of 
Cyrus Vance perpetually aloft on State 
Department business, I think always 
of Edward Wiggins almost twenty-five 
years ago at Yale. Wiggins had been 
raised in the enclave of the American 
oligarchy: a young man of good in- 
telligence and expensive education, he 
considered the possibility of a career 



in the Foreign Service. Eventually he 
discarded the prospect as being too 
much trouble. On his summer vaca- 
tions he sometimes got as far as the 
Ritz Hotel in Paris or Claridge's in 
London. Everything else was too far 
off, too crowded, too likely to be hot 
and infested with flies. He preferred to 
see the movie. In an air-conditioned 
theater on Crown Street, eating popcorn 
with his friends, he figured he could see 
the whole world without having to : uf- 
fer the indignities and the inconve- 
nience of travel. 



WHO CAN SPECULATE about 
the causes of the present 
loss of courage? It is 
easy enough to mention 
the loss of the war in Vietnam and the 
bitter disappointments of the 1960s, a 
decade in which so many had been en- 
couraged to expect so much. Possiblv 
the level of anxiety has to do with the 
emptiness of American education. The 
schools teach children little or nothing 
about their own bodies. People gradu- 
ate from college knowing nothing about 
biology and nutrition. Nor do they learn 
much about technology. No wonder 
they believe in quacks and astrologv. 
The so-called liberal arts education 
achieves the effect of alienating the 
graduate from what he has been told 
is realitv. 

I SUSPECT THAT MUCH of the present 
anxiety has to do with the habit of 
living in time present. So few peo- 
ple have any sense of history. Thus 
they lack proportion, and they also lose 
their sense of humor. I associate both 
losses with the end of World War II 
and the beginning of the age of Ameri- 
can empire. Before it became an im- 
perial nation the Lnited States could 
rely on the sardonic wit of Mark 
Twain. Dorothy Parker. James Thur- 
ber, Artemus Ward. Robert Benchley. 
and H. L. Mencken. Hiroshima and the 
Cold War made it difficult for the newly 
seated equestrian class to laugh at it- 
self. People took themselves very se- 
riously indeed (as how could they not 
when the fate of mankind depended 
upon them?) : they had a use for en- 
tertainment, not for humor. With the 
ascension of John Kennedy the rest of 
the world began to fade and dissolve 
into the lines on a brightly colored 



map. All history prior to the foundi: 
of Camelot receded into the mists 
romantic legend. 

But the more that people bind thei 
selves to the dimension of time presei 
the more threatening the world h 
comes. Every edition of the new s brin 
word of disaster or the threat of c 
saster. The Soviet Lnion adds to 
store of weapons, and a drought 
California inspires reports of famii 
and plague. In the East the rain brin 
little succor because it washes the lar 
with carcinogens. Travelers returnir 
from Africa or the Middle East thir 
themselves less perceptive, less deser 
ing of respect if they fail to bring bac 
proofs of Soviet conspiracy and rumoi 
of \^ orld \^ ar III. The world chang( 
so fast that the perceived risks reac 
catastrophic levels. This induces wid< 
spread feelings of suspicion and resen 
ment. People become paranoid, be\ie\ 
ing that their happiness and wel 
being is being subverted by the activ 
intervention of unknown agents. The 
find it hard to believe that other peopl 
have their own reasons for doing what 
ever they do. that they don't care, mucl 
less think about, what effect their ac 
tions might have on innocent bystand 
ers. 



THE MORE THAT ONE is re 
minded of one's mortality. th< 
more this must be denied: th< 
more complicated and threat 
ening the world becomes, the more tha 
people must insist that it is simple 
Thus the general retreat into the cave 
of superstition and the closets of fan 
tasy. To wandering saints and evan 
gelicals the faithful pay higher prices 
than they pay for foreign oil. The) 
initiate themselves into the mysteries o 
cult religions and supernatural diets. 
They take up jogging and hope that 
if they run far enough and fast 
enough they will outdistance the black 
hound, death. President Carter talks to 
God and Dr. Peter Bourne: the Hilton 
hotel chain requires the candidates 
for its management and training pro- 
grams to take instruction from the 
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I have heard 
of doctors who go among the ranks of 
corporations, marking (as if with a 
piece of chalk I those executives whom 
they judge doomed to die by heart 
attack. 

The press, of course, profits from the 



14 



I irf ulness and ignorance of its au- 
! ence. So also the government bureauc- 
:ies and the entrenched commercial 
ej 'terests. It becomes prudent to merge 
, a l isting companies rather than to un- 
y :rtake new ventures. The emphasis 
ifts away from the creation of goods 
> id ideas to the marketing of goods 
lj id ideas already acceptable to large 
J imbers of people. This contributes to 
e ascendancy of the bureaucrat — i.e., 
e man who explains, categorizes, and 
isses judgment as opposed to the man 
' ho makes, builds, and invents. The 
)vernment assumes the robes but not 
ie authority of the medieval church, 
id its labyrinthine regulations serve 
ie same purpose as religious obser- 
mces. People devote more and more 
t f their time to these observances (i.e., 
lling out federal forms) ; the money 
Dent making these offerings (corn- 
arable to the sums collected for the 
:ained-glass windows at Chartres) last 
ear amounted to $36 billion. 



managed by lawyers. They present 
themselves as generalists, as men who 
can learn anything in a few days or a 
few weeks and who, armed with the 
weapon of reason in what was pre- 
sumed to be a rational and Newtonian 
universe, go forth and subjugate the 
forces of unreason and superstition. 
No longer. The events of the past 
twenty years have proved to them that, 
with Horatio, there are more things in 
heaven and earth than were dreamed 
of in their philosophy. They confront 
a world in which terrorists murder 
Aldo Moro, in which they know 
nothing about computers, biology, 
physics, fusion, anthropology, psychol- 
ogy, et cetera. Ralph Nader and his 
disciples, all of them lawyers, thus rep- 
resent a rearguard action. Together 
with the press they seek to defend and 
reassert the primacy of the ancien 
regime. Insurance companies try to re- 
duce risk. Mr. Nader and the news- 
papers seek to magnify it. 




Sliding Sleeve 7 

Ptentel 

c 1978 Pentel of America, Ltd. 

R Pentel is the registered 
trademark of Pentel Co., Ltd. 



P 



EOPLE WHO BUILD and make 
things accept risk as a neces- 
sary condition of doing busi- 
ness. The heirs to the fortune 
magine that they can avoid risk, as if, 
ike politics, it were an artificial ad- 
litive. Thus the pretense that founda- 
; ions, Presidential commissions, univer- 
ities, et cetera, constitute sanctuaries 
jeyond the corruption of politics. 

Unfortunately, no matter what the 
"aith healers say, the law of the con- 
servation of risk suggests that it can be 
deferred or displaced, not excluded. A 
man maybe can choose which death he 
wants to die, but this is not the same 
thing as proclaiming himself immortal. 
The United States might think itself 
rich enough to neglect the development 
of speculative research and nuclear en- 
ergy, but the rest of the world is not 
yet inclined to take so exquisite a view 
of things. Even now the United States 
imports not only raw materials but also 
technology from abroad. 



As recently AS twenty years 
ago lawyers still could regard 
themselves as general staff, the 
officer class, from which the 
nation would recruit its statesmen, 
Presidents, university officials, politi- 
cians, et cetera. The events of the past 
two or three generations have been 



A GOOD reason for the feeling of 
pervasive dread — if Ameri- 
cans have learned anything in 
the past twenty-five years, they 
have learned that everything connects 
with everything else. Every triumph of 
medicine or biology brings with it 
the corollary news that yet another 
substance or bodily malfunction, here- 
tofore unknown, tends to kill people. A 
man feeds a raisin to a fish, and seven 
years later in the South Atlantic ca- 
lamity overtakes the unsuspecting krill. 
Decisions made for partisan political 
reasons in a Washington basement re- 
sult, nine years later, in the massacre 
of 3 million Cambodians. 

Even as medicine extends the life 
span, so also do people feel themselves 
more expendable. They accept the doc- 
trines of progress and the perfection 
of the self as product, and so they ex- 
pect to be superseded. Having become 
defensive about their transience and 
about the smallness of their achieve- 
ment, and having lost the connection 
between time past and time future, 
they come to think of themselves as 
being no more substantial than a sum- 
mer fruit fly. The less valuable they 
become in their own estimation, of 
course, the more useful they become to 
the people who would reduce them 
from citizens to subjects. □ 



HARPER'S/AUGUST 1978 



15 



The steel industry puzzlj 
tough problems in seam 



Steel is a basic commodity used by most 
industries. Thus, the economic health of Amer- 
ica's steel industry plays an indispensable role 
in the well-being of our nation's economy. 

Last year, steel's troubles made 
headlines. 

Plant closings and layoffs— triggered by 
an unprecedented flood of steel imports— fo- 
cused attention on the plight of the industry. 

Since then steel's situation has improved 
slightly, but our problems are far from solved. 

No single solution 

Most of the issues confronting Bethle- 
hem and other domestic steelmakers impact on 
each other to weaken the earnings we need to 
get moving forward again. 

No single solution solves all of the inter- 
locking problems that make up the steel indus- 
try puzzle. 

If the pieces fall into place 

Because steel is essential to the prosper- 
ity and national defense of America, we believe 
the pieces of the puzzle must fall into place. 
And they will, provided industry and govern- 
ment work together to insure economic health 
and stability. 

Putting it all together 

Just as steel's problems have impacted 
on one another to diminish earnings, so work- 
able solutions can interact to improve earnings. 
And better earnings provide the means we 
need to upgrade productivity, maintain em- 
ployment, and attract investors. 

Consider: 

Federal tax policies that generate funds 
for capital investment can stimulate demand 
for steel from the construction and capital 
goods markets. 

Vigorous enforcement of America's 
existing trade laws can prevent foreign produc- 
ers from "dumping" illegally priced steel that 
erodes our markets. 

Sensible energy policies can help insure 
adequate supplies of the coal, oil, natural gas, 
and electric power we need to keep our plants 
running, our employees working. 

Less rigid and less costly environmental 
mandates by government can free more steel 
dollars to invest in job- and income-producing 
facilities— without forsaking environmental 
goals. 

And regulatory reform to eliminate red 
tape at all levels of government can save tax 
dollars for everyone. 

Write for free booklet 

For more information about the prob- 
lems facing America's steel industry and our 
recommended solutions, write for our booklet, 
"In Search of Solutions." Public Affairs Depart- 
ment, Room 476- B, Bethlehem Steel Corpora- 
tion, Bethlehem, PA 18016. 

Bethlehem 




WA SHINGTON 



THE UBERAL CARTER 



ooing the recipient class 

Many are THE diagnoses of 
President Carter made in 
Washington. From time to 
time members of the press 
will lay aside all other tasks in order 
to cheek the Presidential pulse, tem- 
perature, and heartbeat. Vital signs 
have been erratic. "He jumps around 
like a water spider on a June after- 
noon," declared Stephen Rosenfeld of 
the" Washington Post after taking a re- 
cent sounding. According to one re- 
port, Hamilton Jordan reads Rolling 
Stone magazine with his feet up on 
the desk, thereby gleaning sufficient 
information to report on the state of 
the nation to his boss. who. like Rich- 
ard M. Nixon, doesn't like to see too 
many people too often. "I can read 
faster than people can talk." he ex- 
plained to an adviser. 

Some people in Washington are be- 
ginning to wonder (or as James Res- 
ton, columnist for the New York Times, 
would put it. Washington is beginning 
to wonder) whether Mr. Carter really 
understood the nature of the job he 
pursued so avidly, in much the same 
way that Harry S. Truman in retire- 
ment wondered whether Nixon had 
ever read the Constitution. Did Mr. 
Carter know about things like the sep- 
aration of powers before he became 
President? Or was he privately con- 
vinced that everyone — bureaucracy, 
Congress, press, Supreme Court — 
would instantly recognize his shining 
goodness, and defer to it? 

There is reason to believe that some- 
thing like this might very well have 
insinuated itself into Mr. Carter's 
mind. After all, so much had been 
made of the immorality, "dirty tricks," 
lack of compassion, et cetera, of his 
immediate predecessors that Carter 
could almost be forgiven for imagin- 
ing that the principal element missing 

Tom Bethel! is a Washington editor of Harp- 
er's. 



from Washington politics before he ar- 
rived was good intentions. If so, he 
would be only the latest in a long suc- 
cession of liberals who have made the 
characteristic mistake of assuming that 
their good intentions set them apart 
from others who subscribed to differ- 
ent ideologies. 

President Carter a liberal? Some 
will question that, and Carter himself 
astutely managed to shun the label 
throughout his campaign. Poor Mor- 
ris Ldall found himself saddled with it 
instead. The general consensus seems 
to be that Mr. Carter is a man with 
no ideology, a judgment that may have 
some truth to it. Still, it is always pos- 
sible to judge a man by what he does 
rather than by what he says or fails 
to say, and his record is turning out to 
be indistinguishable from that of an 
old-fashioned FDR-inspired liberal, 
complete with seal of approval from 
Americans for Democratic Action. 

Let us not forget, incidentally, that 
the New Deal years were formative 
ones for Mr. Carter. It was a period, 
he writes in Why Not the Best?, when 
"we learned to appreciate the stability 
of the agricultural programs brought 
about bv federal government action." 
A few pages later he adds: "During 
the Depression years, political deci- 
sions in \^ ashington had an imme- 
diate and direct effect on our lives. 
Farm programs, rural electrification. 
Works Progress Administration, Ci- 
vilian Conservation Corps, and oth- 
ers were of immense personal impor- 
tance." In short, the virtue of govern- 
ment intervention was absorbed along 
with other childhood lessons. Later on 
he went into the peanut business, where 
he put this lesson to good use. As \^ il- 
liam E. Simon, former Secretary of the 
Treasurv. points out in his remarkably 
outspoken book A Time for Truth. Mr. 
Carter "made his money in a regulat- 
ed, subsidized industry." 



by Tom Beth* 



Thus instructed. Mr. Carter qu 
plainly came to the Presidency w 
the firm | although private 1 convicti 
that, whatever else might be uncerta 
in this world, government at least w 
good for people. 

Mr. Carter's ideological inclinatio 
are indicated better than anything ] 
the identity of those who have su 
ported his programs on Capitol Hi 
David S. Broder. associate editor 
the Washington Post, commented ea 
lier this year that these turn out 
have been 

card -carrying (and in some cases 
even knee-jerk) liberals. There has 
been a kind of conspiracy- of si- 
lence to keep this fact unpublicized. 
Members of the White House's 
Congressional liaison staff checked 
the voting records a feu: months 
ago and discovered, as one of them 
said, that "the Northeast and Mid- 
west liberals are the backbone of 
Carters support." 

More recently. Martin Schram has n 
ported in Newsday that "the Senato 
who voted with Carter more than an 
other was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. 

In an attempt to confirm these fine 
ings, I called someone I knew at th 
White House and asked if I could se 
the Congressional liaison report. H 
said he thought that there would b 
no problem. He would call me bad 
He did — apologetically. "Sorry," h 
said, "it's not a public document." 
felt that I had not come close to wir 
ning my Woodstein spurs, but it wa 
interesting to discover, nevertheles; 
that the Administration is apparentl 
anxious to conceal the identity of it 
own supporters. Secrecy in governmer 
has taken a new twist! In Nixon 
time, it was the Enemies List. Now it 1 
Friends. 

My uncommunicative friend at th 
White House pointed out that Cor, 
gressional Quarterly had done a sin 



13 



ir study. Mr. Carter's most consis- 
nt supporters, as reported by CQ, turn 
it in almost every instance to be 
berals with high ADA ratings. His 
ggest opponent on Capitol Hill, on 
te other hand, has been fellow Geor- 
an Larry McDonald ! 1976 ADA rat- 
It)). 

It seems to me that Mr. Carter has 
> far avoided categorization as an 
DR understudy on the basis of talk 
one. His aides have occasionally let 
rop the remark (as it were, ruefully), 
Basically, Jimmy is a fiscal conser- 
ative." Or something like: "I know- 
sounds old-fashioned, but Jimmv is 
favor of balanced budgets. There's 
othing we can do about it — he's as 
ght as a tick." Thereupon people such 
Joseph L. Rauh la founder and 
ice-president of ADAj could say that 
le Democrats had elected a Repub- 
can in disguise, and somehow every- 
ne seemed to forget about the S60 
illion budget deficit. But word can 
asily overshadow deed, which I sup- 
ose is one of the realities of the media 
ge. i In fact, as Mr. Carter truly re- 
larked last year, Presidential words 
re indistinguishable from deeds.) 
I It is becoming clearer every day, 
levertheless, that Mr. Carter can say 
j omething and not really mean it at 
| ill. One afternoon, for example, he 
et forth from the White House and 
aunched an unexpected attack on doc- 
ors and law vers. No doubt it was good 
>olitics. The doctors could be expected 
o vote Republican anyway, and as for 
he lawyers, they no doubt forgave 
iim immediately. I Ralph Nader, per- 
laps the most litigious man in the 
rountry, thought "it was a very good 
speech. " I The main growth area for 
awyers in recent years has, of course, 
oeen government, and since assuming 
Dffice Mr. Carter has scarcely missed 
an opportunity to expand the role of 
government, his campaign obfuscation 
notwithstanding. 

For example, Mr. Carter lobbied 
hard for a Consumer Protection Agen- 
cy, which would have been a Lawyers' 
Agency by another name. Having ex- 
perienced a setback there, the Presi- 
dent campaigned instead for the Equal 
Rights Amendment, to the distress of 
Phyllis Schlafly. its principal opponent, 
who observed that the amendment re- 
ally ought to be called the Lawyers 
Relief Amendment. If the amendment 
is ratified, in fact, it will undoubtedly 



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of precious jade 
and solid gold . . . 




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OF THE IMPERIAL HORSE 



To be issued only during 1978-the Year of the Horse 
in the lunar calendar of the ancient East 



In the ancient lunar calendar, 1978 is the Year of the Horse. A period 
particularly auspicious for those who pursue their purposes with 
sincerity, with love and with generosity. 

In the spirit of this tradition, Franklin Mint of Hong Kong has created 
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Appropriately, 'The Pendant of the Imperial Horse' will be crafted 
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• ORDER FORM- 



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turn out to be lawyers' heaven: women 
who are denied a job, or a promotion, 
or a raise, will head for the courts in 
droves claiming that they are the vic- 
tims of an unconstitutional discrimina- 
tion. They may win or they may lose 
such lawsuits, but either way the law- 
yers will win. 

Someone I know at the Department 
of Housing and Urban Development, 
a political appointee and a lawyer, had 
this to say about the new direction of 
urban policy under HUD Secretary 
Patricia Harris (a lawyer, like four 
other members of Mr. Carter's Cab- 
inet I : "It will be good for lawyers." 
So good, in fact, that my friend had 
toyed with the idea of going back in- 
to private practice. The General Coun- 
sel's Office at HUD provides employ- 
ment for 700 lawyers, a figure that 
somehow conjures up a discouraging 
picture i.i the mind's eye. A similar 
number of lawyers are now toiling 
away in the Department of Energy. 
Their efforts to tie up the oil compa- 
nies in litigation may well turn out to 
be the foremost achievement of the 
Carter Administration. (Incidentally, 
the new Department of Energy is sup- 
posed to be located in the Forrestal 
Building, a prestigious modern con- 
struction close to the Potomac. But to 
date James Schlesinger's minions have 
been unsuccessful in their attempts to 
dislodge a covey of generals and ad- 
mirals roosting in the building after 
the Pentagon filled up. If Schlesinger's 
men win this "turf" battle, which they 
no doubt will, there is likely to be a 
strong and justifiable move to change 
"Forrestal" to "Carter.") 

There have been numerous other in- 
dications of Mr. Carter's penchant for 
greater government. None could be 
more clear-cut than the matter of tui- 
tion tax credits. One bill, sponsored in 
the Senate by Daniel P. Moynihan and 
Robert Packwood, would allow fam- 
ilies to reduce their income tax liabil- 
ities by a certain amount if they send 
their children to private schools. The 
Carter Administration, on the other 
hand, has made a counterproposal in- 
volving an expansion of federal tui- 
tion grants and loan programs. The 
amounts of money involved in the two 
plans are not greatly different, but 
there is an obvious ideological differ- 
ence. One would add to government, 
the other would subtract from it. Mr. 
Carter, on the side of addition, has 



promised to veto the Moynihan-Pack- 
wood bill, a version of which has 
passed the House. Surely, nothing 
could be more revealing than the great 
umbrage Mr. Carter has taken here at 
the prospect of taxpayers being per- 
mitted to send less of their money to 
Washington. 

Then there is the sorry matter of in- 
flation. Was Mr. Carter displaying a 
fundamental ignorance of government, 
or a surreptitious Keynesian tendency, 
when in the course of his State of the 
Union message he remarked that one 
of the things government could not do 
was "reduce inflation"? Embedded as 
it was in a list of several other quite 
reasonably perceived limits to govern- 
ment, this innocuous-seeming remark 
thus created an unobtrusive, almost in- 
visible rationale for deficit spending. 
Mr. Carter stuck to this position for 
a while, with Jody Powell claiming 
that there are only two responses to 
inflation, "voluntary measures and 
wage and price controls." The idea 
that reduced government spending 
could play any role seems to have en- 
tirely eluded the President and his 
spokesman. There has been a change 
since Robert Strauss was appointed as 
Mr. Carter's chief "inflation fighter," 
no doubt because Strauss was able to 
sell the idea of fighting inflation as 
one more "program." Eventually, of 
course, Mr. Carter will either discover 
that this program is at odds with his 
other programs, or settle for wage and 
price controls — no doubt the latter. 

If there is one thing that Mr. Carter 
loves, it's a program — preferably com- 
prehensive. Higher still on his scale 
of values, however, is a reform. Per- 
haps best of all, a comprehensive pro- 
gram of reform. He has used the word 
reform so often that by now. I no- 
tice, more and more newspapers are 
following the Wall Street Journal's ex- 
ample by putting the word inside the 
quarantine of quotation marks. Almost 
single-handed. Mr. Carter has man- 
aged to drain away any vitality the 
word once had. Future leaders will 
have to think up a more challenging 
word to summon up the support of 
the electorate. 

The "taxpayers' revolt" in Califor- 
nia and elsewhere strongly indicates 
that Mr. Carter's activist approach to 
government is very much out of tune 
with the times. Even in 1976 it was 
plain that after the Great Society, Viet- 



nam, and 'W atergate, the country w 
looking for a respite — perhaps to 
provided by someone who might e: 
ulate President Eisenhower I bv pla 
ing golf I or President Coolidge (. 
staying in bedj. And no doubt the 
was a sense that an "outsider" wou 
be most likely to fulfill this role. He 
mistaken this judgment was! Even t. 
President's old friend. T. Bertra 
Lance, the deposed budget directc 
has said he believes that Mr. Cart 
was elected because people thought 1 
would give us less government, wher 
as what we have got from him is mor 

Politically, this could be astute, sim 
the recipient sector within the U. 
electorate gets larger every day. an 
if it gets much larger it could threate 
to outvote the donating sector. ( One ta 
donor has the same electoral "weight 
as one tax receiver — one vote each. 
The additional weight of governmei 
added to the recipient class, as is no 
the case under Mr. Carter i in the ii 
terest of "fairness" I . is disturbing bt 
cause it could tip the scales decisively 
leading inexorably to redistribution. 

Fortunately, if California is any 
thing to go by. we haven't reache 
that point yet. Therefore the Congress 
highly sensitive as it is to the publi' 
mood, won't let Mr. Carter get awa 
with too much. Welfare reform, healtl 
reform, education reform, et ceten 
i translation: more money spent oi 
each I all are distant goals. Thus Mr 
Carter will most probably be reducec 
to little more than gestures, speech 
making, and symbols. I A marvelous 
comment, by the way, from Midge 
Costanza, Mr. Carter's "highest-rank- 
ing woman assistant," who was threat- 
ened with removal from her White 
House office to an office of lower status 
in the adjacent Old Executive Office 
Building: the move should not be al- 
lowed, she said, because "this is a 
very symbolic Administration." In the 
end. she was moved to a basement of- 
fice, but still in the White House.) 

As for Mr. Carter's speech-making, 
a further point of similarity between 
the Carter and Nixon Administrations 
comes to mind. Let us not forget the 
exceptionally candid remark of the for- 
mer Attorney General, John Mitchell, 
currently serving time in an Alabama 
jail. "Watch what we do, not what we 
say," he said. Good advice at the time, 
and good advice today. D 
HARPER'S/AUGUST 1978 



20 



BIOETHICAL QUESTIONS 



ho lives, who dies, and who decides? 



by Leonard C. Lewin 



FEW MONTHS ago, NBC's 
nightly television news carried 
L-^L a segment that to the jaded 
J^.viewer might have appeared 
be just another plum from the sugar- 
rrel of "human interest" stories, 
fteen-month-old Tony Olivo of Dallas 
as reported to have spent his en- 
e short life in a special germ-free 
om in a hospital; he had been born 
victim of the Wiskott-Aldrich syn- 
ome: having virtually no resistance 
any infection, he could not survive 
itside a sterile environment. Now 
was being taken to the Boston 
hildren's Hospital Center for an elab- 
:ate new treatment — a bone-marrow 
ansplant — that it was hoped would 
jrrect his condition. The initial cost 
f this effort, including that of the 
bviously difficult transportation ar- 
ingements, was reported to be about 
70,000. Not to worry about this until 
nother day, the doctors said; mean- 
hile most of the money needed was 
eing raised by contributions in Hous- 
m. No figure was given for what it 
ad already cost to maintain Tony for 
lore than a year, nor was it made 
lear how or by whom this enormous 
xpense had been underwritten. 

The newscast betrayed an uneasiness 
bout the prodigality of efforts to save 
!ony Olivo — an uneasiness that I think 
s new, and that can be attributed to 
i growing awareness that questions of 
ocial values must complicate apparent 
noral imperatives to preserve a life, 
whatever the cost. The newswriters 
eemed to be asking why, in the face 
»f an entirely negative prognosis when 
tony was born, such an extraordinary 
:ffort was mounted in the first place? 

p ranslation: How many other lives 
night have been saved, or substantially 



extended, if the resources devoted to 
Tony's case had been used differently? 
The time of medical technicians and 
the use of hospital facilities cannot 
necessarily be presumed to have been 
given over to Tony entirely to the det- 
riment of other equally needy, if less 
interesting, patients. But medical re- 
sources are finite. Should our society 
(or whoever can be said legitimately 
to speak for it) encourage/approve/ 
tolerate/disapprove/forbid the commit- 
ment of resources in such cases? 

The answer to this question, and to 
the many others for which it might 
serve as a paradigm, is not yet clear. 
Yet similar questions are being an- 
swered on an ad hoc basis every day. 
Decisions of this kind must be made, 
whether according to principle or in 
response to circumstance. And they 
are becoming increasingly frequent fol- 
lowing the spectacular advances in 
biology and in medical technology that 
have marked the last decades. These 
decisions have provoked the develop- 
ment of a new, sophisticated, and rap- 
idly expanding field of study: bioethics. 



IT was probably inevitable that 
the ethical questions that arise in 
the life sciences would assume a 
name that is both convenient and 
scientistic. (Just plain "ethics" would 
suffice, and often does, but the philo- 
sophical and religious connotations of 
the simpler term don't set well with 
many of the technologists, politicians, 
and lawyers who must deal with these 
matters.) By whatever name, bioethical 
questions have always troubled us — 

Leonard C. Lewin is the author of Report 
from Iron Mountain and Triage, satirical fic- 
tions thct deal with the ethics of institu- 
tionalized killing. 



but perceptions of them change. Today, 
because the new medicine has made 
them so much more visible, bioethical 
questions are being examined more 
carefully, more extensively, and under 
a number of broad rubrics. As follows: 

Allocation of resources applies not 
only to all aspects of health care, but 
also to general social priorities; the 
problem involves technology, econom- 
ics, politics, and class interest, as well 
as ethical values. First of all, to what 
extent is health defined by medical 
rather than social criteria? At this 
point in history, what are reasonable 
goals in public health? By what criteria 
should resources be allocated for pre- 
ventive rather than therapeutic medi- 
cine? Or for advancing medical tech- 
nology rather than extending current 
technology to more people who need 
it? Is the objective of "health care" 
to prolong life, improve life's quality 
(how defined?), increase economic 
productivity, make life more subjec- 
tively enjoyable, or to realize some 
other goal? 

How can public-health resources be 
distributed fairly? Some American 
communities have more hospital beds 




21 



BIOETHICAL QUESTIONS 



— and more enormously expensive 
equipment — than they can use. Others 
are hard put to maintain a resident 
doctor, much less a hospital. Lavish 
treatment for some and inadequate care 
for others is the rule. Can such ineq- 
uities be remedied without stringent 
government control of the assignment 
of doctors, nurses, and equipment? 

Should public-health policy seek a 
minimum decent level for all, or the 
greatest good for the greatest number, 
or the best possible average care in a 
given population? These objectives are 
by no means the same. Is there a basic 
right to health care, and what services 
should it encompass? Is it possible to 
exercise such a right in a medical 
market economy of fee-for-service and 
private insurance? 

Experimentation. Assuming that a 
series of experiments promises medical 
advances that may substantially im- 
prove the length or quality of life for 
many people, under what circumstances 
is it proper to use other people as test 
subjects? Must the subjects always be 
fully informed of the possible side 
effects and dangers of the experiments? 
If not, what are ethically proper ex- 
ceptions? Under what circumstances 
can prisoners, for example, who may 
hope to have their sentences commuted 
by participating in such a program, 
be considered to have given their free 
assent? How legitimate are experi- 
ments on children, and on others who 
may not be capable of giving informed 
consent? Who can speak for them, and 
in what circumstances? 

Recently a new issue has been added 
to this category: the widely reported 
controversy on recombinant DNA ex- 
periments. The experiments involve 
changing the genetic structure of micro- 




organisms, and force us to weigh the 
hazard to the general population that 
the experiments may pose against the 
social and scientific benefits that may 
result. The deeper and perhaps more 
vexing question attending the con- 
troversy is the degree to which scien- 
tists should be answerable to, and 
controlled by, the body politic in the 
knowledge they pursue and the methods 
they use. Although a working protocol 
to govern recombinant DNA experi- 
ments appears to have been formulated, 
the limits of scientific freedom are sure 
to be debated in other contexts, and 
perhaps more sharply. 

Genetic screening. It is now possible 
to predict a number of characteristics 
of unborn children according to the 
genetic inheritance of their parents or 
by sampling the amniotic fluid during 
late pregnancy. The latter procedure — 
amniocentesis — can reveal certain se- 
rious defects such as Down's syndrome 
(Mongolism), as well as gender. To 
what extent is it proper to abort pos- 
sible or probable defectives or to permit 
them to come to term ? For that matter, 
should it be permissible for parents 
thus to "choose" the sex of their next 
child? Under what circumstances is it 
justifiable to sterilize people likely — or 
certain — to produce carriers of disease 
or of other unwanted traits? How does 
one reconcile the desire or "right" of 
people to bear defective children with 
the opposing societal interest? And at 
what point are defective characteristics 
deemed sufficiently "undesirable" that 
society's interest must prevail? 

Death and dying. It is by now gen- 
erally accepted that any person has the 
right to refuse treatment, for himself 
at least, and for whatever reason, even 
when such a decision is tantamount to 
suicide. (Yet suicide itself is illegal in 
most jurisdictions, and an attempt at 
suicide is often considered prima facie 
evidence of mental incompetence.) But 
do people also have a right to receive 
maximum, or extraordinary, treatment 
in order to survive? As for rejecting 
treatment, it is one thing to make such 
a decision when fully competent to do 
so. but this is not usually the case for a 
patient already in extremis, who may 
be in a coma, heavily drugged, deeply 
depressed — or for an infant. How is 
competence then determined, and by 
whom? Who makes the decision for 



the patient when he cannot make h i 
wishes known ? A predesignated su: I 
rogate ? Lacking that, his next of kin 
Lacking that or anyone else clos ! 
enough to claim or accept responsibil I 
ty, should the decision be entrusted t 1 
a hospital ethics committee, an attenoi 
ing physician, or a court? 

During World War II, penicillin wa; 
new and scarce. Given the choice om 
treating the possibly mortal infection! 
of the critically injured and treatinj 
venereal disease in soldiers who couh 
be returned to combat, the latter wa 
given preference. When resources ar 
at hand to save one patient and two pa 
tients need them, whose life is judge( 
more valuable, and by what criteria? 
The very young, the mature, those ii 
the prime of life, those with the bes 
prospects for a satisfactory life, those 
judged to have more to contribute t( 
society ? And, of course, who makes the 
judgment? 

Euthanasia, which used to mean sim 
ply a "happy death," has come to mean 
abetting the death of someone who 
wants to die, usually someone for 
whom life does not seem worth the pain 
or emptiness it will hold. "Active" eu- 
thanasia, such as giving a patient a 
lethal injection, is murder according 
to the law; "passive" euthanasia, such 
as discontinuing treatment, is not usu- 
ally so considered. But is it morally 
legitimate to distinguish the two? 

Population control. Genetic screen- 
ing, in the sense used earlier, is popula- 
tion control on a very limited scale. 
Voluntary contraception and steriliza- 
tion, as well as elective abortion, also 
serve to lower the birth rate ; the ethical 
questions they imply turn on individual 
rights. But what of large-scale com- 
pulsory control of reproduction, where 



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22 



Rediscover the courage 
of words in Harper's 




As often as not these days I run 
across people who wonder why 
Harper's publishes so many criticisms 
of American art, government, and 
education. Not that they object to 
these criticisms, but they worry about 
the magazine's hope for the future. 
Why must the magazine dwell so 
much on the imperfectibility of man 
and the failure of his grand designs? 
Might it not be possible to cast a 
more cheerful light among the ruins? 

I should remind the reader that I 
am by trade an optimist. As an editor 
I have no choice but to believe in 
man's capacity to learn from his fail- 
ures. It seems to me that a magazine 
such as Harper's has an obligation 
to publish as many arguments on 
as many sides of a given question as 
there are people willing to declare 
themselves. 

The argument going on in the coun- 
try cannot be seen as the customary 
opposition between liberal and con- 
servative, Left and Right, Democrat 
and Republican. It has to do instead 
with the division between people 
who would continue the American 
experiment and those who think the 
experiment has gone far enough. 

The fearful majority needs to be 
opposed by an articulate and coura- 
geous minority, by people who live 
for others, and not the opinion of oth- 
ers, who believe that they can forge 
their energy and their intelligence 
into the shapes of their own destiny 
and their own future. I admire the 
courage of such people whenever I 
have the good fortune to meet them, 
but I have particular regard for those 
among them who choose to write 
magazine articles. I count it a victory 
to find writers who speak in plain 
words and who report what they have 
seen and heard and thought rather 
than what they have been told, 




Try our current issue and decide for 
yourself. Simply mail the attached 
card today. You will receive a trial 
subscription, 8 issues for $5.00 (half 
of what you would pay on the 
newsstand or at the bookstores). 

For faster service, call toll-free: 

800-621-8318 

In Illinois, call loll-free 800-972-8308 



Harpers 

1255 Portland Place 
Boulder, Colorado 80321 



Lewis H . Lapham 
Editor 





In Bell's "Photophone," sunlight 
was bounced from a reflector 
a lens to a mechanism that vibrated 
response to speech. This caused the 
light beam to vary in intensity. At 
receiving end, a selenium detector 
translated these variations into 
electrical current to recreate speech 
through a telephone receiver. 



7 years before we 
nvented the laser, 
Vofessor Bell had a 
>erfect application for it 



In 1880, only four years after 
invented the telephone, 
exander Graham Bell received 
)atent for a remarkable idea — 
ing light, rather than wire, 
carry phone calls. 
Professor Bell built an experi- 
ental "Photophone" that 
I ansmitted his voice over a 
1 jam of sunlight. It didn't work 
try well, however. 
Sunbeams are scattered by 
r, rain and fog. In any event, 
ie sun doesn't always shine, 
he Photophone, unfortunately, 
as an idea whose time had not 
3t come. 

new kind of light 

By the 1950's, scientists again 
ere looking for a way to use 
ght for communications. 

In September, 1957, Charles 
'ownes, a Bell Labs consultant, 
nd Bell Labs scientist Arthur 
chawlow conceived a way of 
roducing a new kind of light — 
xtremely intense, highly direc- 
ional, and capable of carrying 
nmense amounts of information. 

Townes and Schawlow 
eceived a basic patent on their 



invention — the laser. 

Since then, Bell Labs scien- 
tists have invented hundreds 
of lasers, including many firsts — 
gas and solid-state lasers capable 
of continuous operation, high- 
power carbon dioxide lasers, 
liquid dye lasers that produce 
pulses shorter than a trillionth 
of a second, and tiny semi- 
conductor lasers that work 
reliably at normal temperatures. 
Some of these, no larger than 
grains of salt, may emit light 
continuously for 100 years. 

Getting the light to the 
end of the tunnel 

While we were developing 
lasers to generate light, we also 
looked for a way of shielding it 
and guiding it for long distances 
and around curves. 

Extremely transparent glass 
fibers, perfected at Bell Labs 
and elsewhere, provide the 
answer. These hair-thin fibers 
can carry light many miles 
without distortion or the need 
for amplification. 

In 1977, the Bell System took 
lightwave communications out 



of the laboratory and put it to 
work under the streets of down- 
town Chicago. The system, the 
first to carry phone calls, 
computer data, and video signals 
on pulses of light, is working 
successfully. 

Spin-off 

Laser light is now used in 
many other ways — to perform 
delicate eye surgery, detect air 
pollution, read product codes 
at supermarket checkouts, and 
do a variety of manufacturing 
tasks. Western Electric, the 
Bell System's manufacturing 
and supply unit, was the first 
company to put the laser to 
industrial use back in 1965. 
Hundreds of applications in 
many industries have followed. 

Sometimes, it takes a lot of 
work and a long time to make a 
bright idea — like Professor 
Bell's — a reality. Often, the 
things we invent, such as the 
laser, benefit not only Bell System 
customers, but society in general. 

Bell Laboratories 
600 Mountain Avenue 
Murray Hill, N.J. 07974 




Bell Laboratories 

We work for the phone company. And you. 



BIOETHICAL QUESTIONS 



BED SIDE 

by Jean C. Howard 

My daughter, 
when you reach 
while the night 
is dripping on 
our backyard elms 
and find 

emptiness by the 
hair, you'll pull 
it towards 
you for comfort 
and feel nothing. 

Remember, mommie 
was there before the 
moon hid from the 
outlaws and all the 
while the jackals 
scratched at 
our windows. 
I tried, 
yes I did, 
to wait at the 
st-ation of your 
sleep for lonely 
strangers to stumble 
from your lips and 
feel home. 

But a man 
came with a 
gun barrel black 
as Reed Lake. 
He placed its cold 
mouth in my ear. 
We listened 
to the ghosts 
whimpering and lost 
in its long 
canyons. 
I shifted. 

Oh darling, I 

left not out of fear 

of my own life — 

a brown paper bag of 

litter left out 

by the door, 

But from sadness 

dressed in dark flannel 

and armed by your 

crib; 

The water of 

moons 

in his eyes. 



an important societal interest is assert- 
ed? The prevailing view — by no means 
unchallenged, to be sure — sees the rate 
of population increase running well 
ahead of the production of resources 
necessary to sustain it. Doomsday pro- 
jections have encouraged open discus- 
sion of the so-called lifeboat ethic, in 
which the world is analogous to an 
overloaded lifeboat from which a num- 
ber of passengers must be cast for the 
rest to survive. The term "triage," once 
used only in military medicine to de- 
scribe the selection on the battlefield of 
whom to treat and whom to abandon, 
now extends beyond even general hos- 
pital practice to embrace a wider social 
predicament: Where and on what basis 
will an effort be made to save endan- 
gered peoples, and where not? 

The highest birth rates, by and large, 
occur in the parts of the world least 
able to support them. Yet in such areas 
programs to promote voluntary meth- 
ods of birth control have not been 
popular. Mrs. Gandhi's aggressive pro- 
motion of sterilization in India con- 
tributed significantly to her political 
defeat last year. The response of the 
wealthy nations to mass famine in Ban- 
gladesh and in the African Sahel a 
few years ago was limited at best: per- 
haps the fact that any response is made 
at all represents an ethical advance in 
international responsibility. But one 
suspects that the pessimism with which 
wealthy nations view the survival of 
their impoverished neighbors masks an 
unarticulated willingness to let these 
people go over the sides of the lifeboat. 

This most profound bioethical ques- 
tion will be with us for a long time: To 
what extent does a national or inter- 
national "right" to control available 
resources supersede individual "rights" 
to bear children? 

Transplants. After Dr. Christiaan 
Barnard performed the first heart trans- 
plant operation in 1967, a macabre 
satirical vision of eager, knife-bearing 
surgeons stalking the terminal wards 
and the emergency rooms gained cur- 
rency. And. in fact, a black market in 
kidneys has been reported, and it's 
a fair guess that the same thing will 
happen for other essential organs as it 
becomes possible to transplant them. 
Selling organs, tissue, and blood to the 
highest bidder is clearly venal. More 
ethically ambiguous I according to the 
increasingly accepted new criterion of 



"brain death" ) is the deliberate mai 
tenance. as a source of spare parts, 
the pulsing, breathing bodies of peop 
deemed "legally" dead. Indeed. 
Boston physician has premised a thri 
er. entitled Coma, on just this strateg 
Dr. Willard Gaylin, in his ironic bi 
provocative article "Harvesting tl 
Dead" l Harpers, September. 1974 
postulated the use of such "boc 
farms" for the training and testing < 
and experimentation with human bodi< 
to a degree currentlv beyond the reac 
of medical teaching and research: tl 
""banking"" of platelets and white cells 
the "manufacturing" of blood, ant 
bodies, and renewable organs. A pow 
erful humanitarian case for such 
system can easilv be made. Yet, Di 
Gaylin asks, might they not destro 
"those components of humanness tha 
barely sustain us at the limited level o 
civility and decency that now exist 
[and] those very qualities that mak 
life worth sustaining?" 

Nonmedical priorities. The leading 
causes of death among young adult; 
in this country are not diseases, bu 
automobile accidents, suicide, anc 
homicide. By what standards, there 
fore, should funds applied, say. tc 
grade-crossing elimination, automobile 
safety, and speed-limit enforcement be 
measured against those allotted to the 
development of a new vaccine? How 
do you weigh the dollars spent for 
better housing, for cleaning the air, 
for monitoring food and drugs, for 
easing the stress of unemployment, 
for mitigating the causes and effects 
of violent crime, against those spent 
for promoting preventive medicine and 
extending the accessibility of thera- 
peutic medicine? That all these mat- 
ters are part of the same total package 
of "health" and "welfare" is a truism, 




m i they do not lend themselves to 
s. lputerized cost-benefit trade-offs, 
ial ethics are political; conflicting 
is and economic interests are inevi- 
j ly involved. 

ioethicists — usually physi- 
W cians. philosophers, theolo- 
^« gians, lawyers, nurses, and 
public-health activists — are 
.ply engaged in examining these 
ds of issues. Many of them deplore 
label for its suggestion that bio- 
ics is an established profession, or 
its implication that anyone can claim 
>ert knowledge of what is right and 
at is wrong. But bioethics is a dis- 
line — however "soft" — and, as the 
ids of questions cited here should 
licate, it is being applied ever more 
dely. 

The acknowledged center of activity 
the Institute of Society, Ethics and 
; Life Sciences, more commonly 
own as the Hastings Center, in Has- 
igs-on-Hudson, New York. Organized 
is than ten years ago by Daniel Cal- 
lan, a philosopher, and Willard Gay- 
i, the psychiatrist quoted earlier, the 
J nter has extended its activities and 
fluence to a growing number of the 
tion's medical and law schools, and 
maintains several continuing pro- 
ams of research and education. Its 
monthly Hastings Center Report is 
e principal publication in the field. 
So the bioethicists think, talk, write, 
udy, and teach — and to what end, if 
~>t to determine the answers to these 
jestions? I would say that the bio- 
hicists' first concern is conscious- 
ess-raising (to use the locution chiefly 
ssociated with the women's move- 
lent) : developing a greater awareness 
f the ethical issues in, for example, 
ledical practice. At Hastings they call 
: "complexifying" the issues — trying 
d take every interest and point of view 
nto account — in order, paradoxically, 
o clarify them 

The bioethicists are increasingly in 
lemand as consultants: organizing sem- 
nars and teaching programs in pro- 
essional and other schools, helping 
rroups who must decide health policy, 
hafting legislation, and, on occasion, 
lelping to set up hospital ethics or re- 
view committees. These latter groups 
(as distinguished from purely profes- 
iional prognosis committees) have been 
ooked to by some laypersons as pos- 



sible arbitrators of the decisions to be- 
gin or discontinue extreme efforts to 
maintain life. Robert M. Veatch, the 
Hastings senior associate in charge of 
its continuing program on death and 
dying, believes that such authority 
would be ethically undesirable, even if 
made legally unambiguous, because it 
begs the question of where responsibil- 
ity should lie. Ethics committees, he 
feels, should be able to provide useful 
perspective — as a resource for physi- 
cians, patients, relatives, and others 
concerned — but not final judgments. 

Even the most simply phrased bio- 
ethical question usually requires an in- 
ordinate amount of "complexifying" 
before persuasive alternatives begin to 
emerge. But a number of broad com- 
mon denominators are manifest in all 
the questions posed here. Rights, for 
one example: of the individual, the 
family, the professional, the institution, 
the state, the society. It would be con- 
venient indeed if rights did not so often 
conflict. (And to what extent is a 
"right" an ethical imperative rather 
than a legal or political concept?) 
Responsibilities, for another: of pro- 
fessional to client, of institution to in- 
dividual, of citizen to society, of A to 



B — and the reverse of each. Who should 
make which decisions, on what author- 
ity, to whom accountable? The value 
of life: Who can determine it, and by 
what criteria? How can one life be 
measured against another? Can there 
be — or must there be, for purposes of 
social policy — a dollar value attached 
to it? Politics and economics: How can 
existing inequities be substantially miti- 
gated within the current social struc- 
ture? To what extent are they morally 
acceptable? Is it possible to have a 
reasonably "good" society in an econ- 
omy in which one person usually stands 
to gain only at the expense of another? 
Will the continuing biological revolu- 
tion tend to promote a new, more 
equitable social contract, or to ratio- 
nalize the advantages of the already 
privileged? 

Large questions, indeed, for those 
who have to decide — right now — 
whether one patient or another is as- 
signed the last bed in the intensive care 
unit, or if and when to pull the plug, 
or how to control experiments on some 
promising new drug. But they — and 
we — have to start thinking about them. 
The questions won't get any easier. □ 
HARPER'S/ AUGUST 1978 



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DIAGNOSING 
SOVIET DISSIDENTS 



mrage becomes madness, and deviance disease. 



by Walter Reich, M.D. 







N THE DECADE-LONG STRUGGLE to condemn 

Soviet psychiatry for its suppression of 
political dissent, Western critics have 
painted a monochromatic picture of Soviet 
I ativations, a picture of psychiatrists method- 
ally, blindly, and eagerly obeying orders 
am above, of a virginal profession raped by 
nical hacks. They have argued with energy 
id persistence that the Soviet leadership, hav- 
g discovered the magnificent utility of psy- 
liatry as a means of social control, has given 
le KGB leave to exploit it; that the KGB has 
rstematically referred perfectly healthy dis- 
dents to a small cadre of politically reliable 
sychiatrists with directions, stated or implied, 
lat they pronounce the dissidents mentally ill 
nd recommend them for hospitalization; and 
lat these psychiatrists, recognizing the un- 
uestionable health of the dissidents referred to 
hem, have participated in the plot by cynical- 
Y fabricating symptoms and rendering diag- 
oses they have known to be false. This is the 
icture of simple evil that has alerted Western 
pinion to Soviet practices and that mobilized 
le largest Western psychiatric societies to con- 
'emn their Soviet colleagues at last summer's 
Vorld Congress of Psychiatry in Honolulu. 

But even if we are convinced — as I am — - 
hat abuses have taken place and that dissi- 
dents have been misdiagnosed, there are rea- 
ons to question the fidelity of that picture — 
o suspect the existence of other colors, other 
motivations, other circumstances. 

For one thing, the charges of psychiatric 
buse have become so prominent in recent 



years that any advantages the Soviets may 
once have gained from the tactic — such as the 
circumvention of full-scale trials, the discredit- 
ing of dissidents and their views, and the in- 
ternment of troublesome individuals for in- 
definite lengths of time — have been reduced 
by the disadvantageous publicity that now re- 
sults each time the dissident community lets 
it be known that one of its members has been 
sent for psychiatric examination. By now, psy- 
chiatric hospitalization has become identified 
in the West as the most despicable weapon the 
Soviets have for suppressing unorthodox po- 
litical views. Yet they continue to send dissi- 
dents to psychiatrists, despite the availability 
of an alternative, their very predictable and 
responsive legal system, through which many 
dissidents, especially the less prominent ones, 
can be convicted of serious offenses and sen- 
tenced for long terms in out-of-the-way courts 
with maximum efficiency and minimum noise. 

Moreover, in addition to the well-known cases 
of dissident misdiagnosis, about which a rea- 
sonable amount of objective information is 
available, at least 200 others have been cited, 
and as many as 700 alleged. One critic, Ray- 
mond Aron, has offered a remarkable estimate 
of from 5,000 to 10,000 dissidents confined to 
insane asylums. The vast bulk of these other 
cases are not documented nearly so well, if at 
all. Most have been diagnosed not by the four 
or five Moscow psychiatrists made notorious 
by the Western campaign but by other psy- 
chiatrists, often in outlying regions, who are 
not so well-connected politically. To assume that 



Dr. Walter Reich is 
Lecturer in Psychiatry 
at Yale University and 
chairman of the pro- 
gram in the medical and 
biological sciences at 
the Washington School 
of Psychiatry. During 
the past six years he 
has interviewed Soviet 
dissidents and psychia- 
trists and has studied 
Soviet approaches to be- 
havior and mental ill- 
ness. 



31 



Walter 
Reich, M.D. 
DIAGNOSING 
SOVIET 
DISSIDENTS 



all of these cases are equivalent to the more 
notorious examples — that the diagnoses have 
been part of the same strategy of abuse, and 
that the hospitalizations and medications have 
been expressions of the same technology of 
punishment and terror — is to apply arbitrarily 
the lessons of the known to realms of fact and 
experience that are really dark and ambiguous. 

We are dealing, in these more obscure cases, 
with a variety of diagnosers, with an even 
greater variety of diagnosees, and with an un- 
explored catalogue of unknowns. Many cases 
do suggest cynical misdiagnosis. But the mo- 
tivations and circumstances in other cases can- 
not be judged adequately because information 
about them is too sparse. 

In some cases the KGB may have had gen- 
uine doubts about the dissidents' mental health. 
One dissident, for example, a troublemaking 
writer, told me that the authorities sent him for 
two examinations because they really thought 
it was very strange, even abnormal, for any- 
one who could never be published to keep 
scribbling away. The psychiatrists disagreed 
and found him sane. Another dissident report- 
ed that he, too, was sent for numerous exam- 
inations by police officials who persistently in- 
terpreted his objectionable acts — his attempt, 
to dash across the border and his one-man 
public demonstrations — as evidence of mental 
illness. The psychiatrists, recognizing that he 
was simply a dissident, declared him sane 
again and again. 

And in a very small number of cases it 
seems probable that genuine illness did exist 
and may have contributed to the dissenting be- 
havior that provoked the KGB to action. One 
man, for example, who has been cited repeat- 
edly in the West as a dissident hospitalized 
for his views, has displayed so much evidence 
of illness that almost any psychiatrist any- 
where would diagnose paranoid schizophrenia. 
After emigrating to the United States, he came 
to believe that he was being poisoned not only 
by the KGB but also by the CIA and by Henry 
Kissinger, and that he was, in reality, Pres- 
ident Carter's double. A number of fellow emi- 
gres tried to help him — including two former 
Soviet psychiatrists, who offered treatment — 
but he became suspicious of their advances 
and convinced that several of them were in- 
volved in the plot against him. According to 
several reports, he informed U.S. radio sta- 
tions and government agencies of the plots 
and of malicious conspiracies in high office. 
In this country, such behavior is no crime; in 
the U.S.S.R., it is routinely interpreted as a 
violation of the criminal code. The KGB, al- 
ways on the alert for dissident violations, re- 
sponds with arrests and investigations. If the 



person is known to have been mentally ill, 
if the KGB comes to recognize symptoms 
dealing with him, a psychiatric' examinat 
is ordered, which leads — in such cases ac 
rately — to a diagnosis of illness and to a ft 
ing of legal non-responsibility. And so syi 
toms that would excite scant notice in the W 
provoke an extreme reaction in the U.S.S 
solely because of their political aura. In 
end, if we regard such people as dissider 
we do an injustice to the courageous minor 
of Soviet citizens who risk everything by 
coming truly political in a vengefully antij 
litical society, and whose actions and ide 
are marked by coherence, lucidity, and insig 
The fact that there may be a few cases 
real illness among formerly hospitalized Sovi 
dissidents, that police or KGB officials m 
genuinely but mistakenly have suspected 
tal illness in some others, or that most of 
reported cases are incompletely understoo 
does not undermine the fundamental charj 
of Soviet psychiatric abuse. In many cas 
there appear to have been misdiagnoses: sh 
ply stated, dissidents who would have bt 
considered healthy anywhere else have be 
declared ill. And even in the exceptional case 
in which serious illness has in fact existe 
hospitalization, particularly in strict-regim 
"special" hospitals for the criminally insane 




Kenneth Granieri 



32 



been unnecessary and unjustified. What 
ges insistently for us, though, is the need 
beyond the simple assessment of pure 
universal cynicism in order to ask what 
- factors and motivations may have been 
ved, even in cases in which indisputably 
hy dissidents have been misdiagnosed? 
ere anything inherent in psychiatry itself 
the way psychiatrists think — that helps 
:count for the Soviet psychiatric response 
I issent? And what, in the end, are the 
! al qualities of Soviet abuse that exempt 
et psychiatry from an indictment of or- 
ry vulnerability and banal misconduct and 
t, condemned, in the black roster of psy- 
:ric iniquity? 



The Snezhnevsky system 



N fact, the dissident diagnoses are con- 
sistent with the Soviet approach to mental 
illness. Soviet psychiatry has undergone 

I a revolution in the past fifteen years with 
rise to power of the Moscow School, 

I ded and headed by Andrei V. Snezhnevsky 
le same psychiatrist who has been his 
ession's chief defender against Western 
ges of abuse. Snezhnevsky promulgated a 
>ry of schizophrenia that overturned tradi- 



tional Soviet concepts, attributing the illness 
primarily to genetic rather than environmental 
deficits. And instead of defining schizophrenia 
narrowly and assigning the diagnosis only to 
those persons who manifest serious and severe 
symptoms — a practice that Soviet authorities 
used to applaud both because it reduced the 
number of citizens considered unfit to par- 
ticipate in socialist construction and because 
it exposed fewer people to the social liabilities 
of the diagnosis itself — Snezhnevsky has de- 
fined the condition broadly and advocated its 
diagnosis in cases displaying few or even no 
classical symptoms. Snezhnevsky was able to 
accomplish this major revision of psychiatric 
theory by attaining control of the most im- 
portant sectors of the profession: its major 
academic bases, its central research institute, 
and its only journal. Having established con- 
trol, he was in a position to determine the 
substance and direction of Soviet psychiatric 
teaching, research, and publication. His 
strength in the field is, by now, broad and 
profound. And his schizophrenia classification 
system has become the standard by which 
most patients in the Soviet Union — not only 
dissidents — are diagnosed. 

Snezhnevsky divides schizophrenia into 
three categories, according to the life-course 
of the illness. One category or course-form, 



'What, in the 
end, are the 
special qualities 
of Soviet 
abuse that . . . 
fix it, con- 
demned, in the 
black roster 
of psychiatric 
iniquity?" 



Walter 
Reich. M.D. 
DIAGNOSING 
SOVIET 
DISSIDENTS 



which he calls "continuous," is characterized 
by a lifelong process in which the patient 
becomes increasingly ill. The second, termed 
"periodic," features attacks of illness that are 
followed by remissions, during which the pa- 
tient is well. The third course-form, the "shift- 
like," is described as a cross between the other 
two: the patient has attacks of illness that are 
followed by remissions, but as time passes the 
patient's health deteriorates so that even dur- 
ing remissions he grows progressively worse. 

Two features of this scheme have central 
importance to an assessment of the psychiatric 
response to Soviet dissidents. The first is that 
the two course-forms characterized by pro- 
gression — the "continuous" and the "shift- 
like" — are each said to have three subtypes 
ranging from mild to severe. At the severe end 
of each of these course-forms are symptoms 
of delusion, hallucination, and deterioration 
that nearly all psychiatrists everywhere would 
agree justify a diagnosis of schizophrenia. At 
the mild end, however, are symptoms and 
characteristics that border on normality but 
that Snezhnevsky includes within the course- 
form because they resemble, in a very muted 
way, some of the symptoms and characteristics 
that are seen in genuine schizophrenics. Most 
psychiatrists who do not subscribe to Snezh- 
nevsky's theories would consider these charac- 
teristics to be, at worst, signs of a personality 
disorder or a neurosis: many diagnosticians 
would see them as perfectly consistent with 
health. Some of these characteristics, such as 
the ones said to be typical of the mild, "slug- 
gish" subtype of the "continuous" course- 
form, include repeated difficulties with paren- 
tal and other authorities and what Snezhnevsky 
calls "reformerism" — the stubborn penchant 
to reform society. 

The second feature of the Snezhnevsky sys- 
tem that contributes to the Soviet psychiatric 
response to dissent is the assumption that each 
course-form consists of a spectrum of illnesses 
that are genetically — that is, biologically and 
hereditarily — linked. Thus, once a person is 
diagnosed as having a mild subtype of one 
of the course-forms, he is granted an involun- 
tary passport into the kingdom of schizophre- 
nia as a whole — and. once there, he is destined 
to remain forever, for genetic reasons, just as 
if he were diagnosed at the severe end of that 
course-form. The result is that if a Snezh- 
nevsky-diagnosed schizophrenic is brought be- 
fore a Snezhnevsky-trained or Snezhnevsky- 
influenced psychiatrist even years after his 
initial diagnosis, then any socially unusual 
or unwelcome behavior he may have engaged 
in is likely to be attributed to his genetically 
caused illness. And if that behavior happens 



to constitute a crime — political or othei 
— then as a schizophrenic he is almost 
matically exempted from legal responsibi 
he may be considered incapable of parti 
ing in his own defense at a trial and is 
to be sent not to a prison or a labor camj 
to a psychiatric hospital for the crimii 
insane. 

Most of the hospitalized Soviet dissh 
known in the \S est have been examinee 
psychiatrists who belong to the Moscow Sc 
or who are under its influence. In most 
these psychiatrists have diagnosed schizof 
nia, often specifying one of the Snezhnevsl 
forms of the illness. Their diagnostic rep 
both those smuggled out to the \S est by 
sidents and those released by the Soviet 
chiatrists themselves, are full of precisely 
same phrases and formulations that Sn 
nevsky and his colleagues routinely cite 
published descriptions of mild schizophr 
subtypes. What most people l including 
non-Soviet psychiatrists i would call dissi* 
styles have been inducted by the Mos 
School into its paradigm of schizophi 
illness. The qualities that make dissent 
sible — intensity, attention to detail, sc 
maladjustment, and the irrepressible desir 
change society — have become hallmarks 
schizophrenia. And the responses that So 
dissidents appropriately develop as a resul 
their rejection by Soviet society — fear, 
piciousness. depression, ambivalence, j 
and internal conflicts — have become bona 
features of the Snezhnevskyan course-foi 



WHAT DOES IT MEAN that di 
dent styles have been defij 
as schizophrenic symptoi 
Have Soviet psychiatrists sim 
latched onto a theory that provides a 
venient scientific imprimatur for politic? 
motivated diagnoses? Has the Soviet leac 
ship encouraged, protected, and subsidi: 
Snezhnevsky just because his system 
politically useful? 

I think not. Snezhnevsky 's theory evoh 
over a period of decades. The vast bulk 
his power and influence was gained as a res 
of circumstances that had nothing to do w 
the utility of his diagnostic system in dissidi 
cases. Snezhnevsky is a prototypical prod 
of Stalinist and post-Stalinist Soviet life, 
was capable of surviving shifts and feints 
theory and power and of coming out on 1 
while others less skilled than he in organi 
tional maneuvering or in sensing the m 
advantageous political and ideological loyalt 
— less skilled than he or more principled — 1 



34 



•minence or found themselves denounced, 
rged, or worse. And now his theory is ap- 
sd throughout the country to ordinary, non- 
itical cases. It is, in fact, not such a strange 
ory; not so different from some European 
ories or even some American ones. It is 
t that, in the highly hierarchical system of 
viet medicine, Snezhnevsky has reached the 
j top, and the man at the top invariably 
able to influence the thinking and practice 
those below him to a degree unheard of 
the West, where psychiatry is much more 
iralistic and much less structured. 
After studying Snezhnevskys development, 
itings, and career, after interviewing two 
nerations of his colleagues, students, and 
lowers I both those who have left for the 
est and those who are still associated with 
n in Moscow I , and after interviewing 
ezhnevsky himself last summer at the World 
>ngress of Psychiatry just hours before he 
d his colleagues were condemned, I have 
me to feel that, whether or not Snezhnevsky 
rverted his theory in particular dissident 
ses — and I suspect that he did — he probably 
lieves in its basic scientific validity. Many 
his colleagues and former students appear 
believe in it as well, including some who 
ive emigrated abroad. One psychiatric re- 
archer I talked to. for example, still sub- 
ribes to major parts of the theory even 
.ough he is now working at an American 
•search institute and even though Snezh- 
evsky. his teacher and boss for twenty years, 
red him from his Moscow Institute for ap- 
lying to leave the country. Other Soviet psy- 
liatrists whose training is less adequate and 
ho work far away from Moscow seem to 
oibrace the theory with even greater enthu- 
asm. In fact, the further the psychiatrist is 
"om the official fount of learning, and the 
)wer he is on the academic ladder, the more 
vid his devotion to the great professor's 
caching seems to be. 

But it is also true that Snezhnevsky 's ap- 
•roach can be a convenient way of diagnosing 
iissidents as ill in order to spare the govern- 
aent embarrassing courtroom testimony and 
o discredit dissident beliefs. What, then, is 
ts role in the psychiatric response to dissent? 



Cynicism and systemic evil 

Certainly, anyone who has worked in 
psychiatry anywhere recognizes that 
the profession is heir to abuses of 
many kinds wherever it is practiced — 
aot only politically motivated ones, which are 
rare in the West, but, much more commonly, 



abuses that arise from less spectacular kinds 
of pressures and needs. People may be mis- 
diagnosed unknowingly because of psychiatric 
mistakes that grow out of ignorance, out of 
misconceived or misapplied diagnostic theory, 
out of an inappropriate reliance on socially 
defined norms, or out of an irrational or angry 
response to a patient's words or actions. 

These are all distortions of the practice of 
psychiatry — that is, abuses — because, in the 
end. patients suffer from them: and even if pa- 
tients do not suffer, medicine does. Psychiatry's 
theoretical framework is still so tenuous, its 
basis for explanation still so narrow, and 
its capacity for self-justification still so limit- 
less and potentially self-serving that almost 
any action or decision, any diagnosis or treat- 
ment, can be rationalized on some ground or 
other. 

That psychiatry is so capable of mistakes, 
so hobbled by ignorance and so lacking in 
insight does not necessarily reduce it to a pre- 
scientific, arbitrary, irremediably culture- 
bound and abusive enterprise. It is just that, 
in addition to psychiatry's capacity for know- 
ing, learning, and healing — a capacity that 
is expanding rapidly as modern psychiatry 
breaks the shackles of psychological schools 
and ideological positions — there are parts of 
the discipline that are pre-scientific, there are 
circumstances under which it can be arbitrary, 
there are sectors within it, particularly the 
diagnostic one, that are culture-bound, and 
there are times when it can become abusive 
despite the psychiatrist's best intentions. 

To assume that such everyday, non-political 
abuse never takes place in the Soviet Union is 
to grant that country's psychiatric profession 
a perfection that eludes every other. And if 
we acknowledge that such abuses must occur 
there, too, then it is reasonable to consider the 
possibility that at least some of the abuses of 
diagnosis and treatment that have taken place 
in dissident cases (such as finding schizophre- 
nia where there was only neurosis or even 
health, and increasing the dose of medication 
when it should have been lowered) may have 
been the result not only of political consider- 
ations, but also, at least in part, of the theoret- 
ical and practical vulnerabilities inherent in 
psychiatry. 

Soviet psychiatry obeys some of the same 
laws that shape the profession everywhere. 
Psychiatrists are people. Their professional 
training builds on what they learn and expe- 
rience as ordinary men and women. Training 
does not remove their biases. In some ways, in 
fact, it tends to strengthen them. There are 
few objective guidepost; for recognizing men- 
tal illness. There are no blood tests and few 



'What seems 
to have hap- 
pened in the 
Soviet Union 
is that all of 
psychiatry's 
inherent 
vulnerabilities 
have been 
pushed to their 
extremes." 



35 



Walter 
Reich. M.D. 
DIAGNOSING 
SOVIET 
DISSIDENTS 



behavioral signs that by themselves guarantee 
that a person is ill. Diagnostic decisions are 
based largely on social context. If a person 
deviates from generally accepted rules of be- 
havior, then the question of mental illness may 
arise. If the threshold for deviance in a par- 
ticular society is low — if the boundaries that 
define normal behavior are narrowly drawn — 
then the question of mental illness tends to be 
provoked by behaviors that in other societies 
go unnoticed. 

Once the question arises, psychiatric theory 
comes into play. If that theory sets a low 
threshold for the diagnosis of psychiatric dis- 
order—if the boundaries that define serious 
mental illness are broadly drawn — then an 
illness is diagnosed in people whom other psy- 
chiatrists, using other theories, would see as 
only deviants or eccentrics. If, in addition, 
pressures are applied by some outside source 
— say, by the family, or by authorities of one 
kind or another — that lead the psychiatrist to 
believe that it would be easier all around if 
a medical solution were found, then the likeli- 
hood that a diagnosis of illness will be made 
is increased. And if, going beyond this, the 
sensitivity to or fear of outside pressure is 
strong and the respect for professional in- 
tegrity or for the primacy of scientific truth 
is relatively weak, then the probability that 
a verdict of illness will be reached becomes 
even greater. 

What seems to have happened in the Soviet 
Union is that all of psychiatry's inherent vul- 
nerabilities have been pushed to their ex- 
tremes. The boundaries of acceptable behav- 
ior, particularly political behavior, are very 
narrow. Even a quarter-century after Stalin's 
death, the norm is rigidly defined and devia- 
tion from it is unusual. There is too much to 
risk and too little to gain. Most Soviet cit- 
izens believe that. So do most Soviet psychi- 
atrists. Deviance raises the suspicion of mental 
illness earlier than it would in another soci- 
ety. Many Soviet citizens have made their 
peace with an oppressive system, have as- 
sumed its permanence, and have managed to 
build a life designed to attain the material 
rewards that can be achieved within it. Anyone 
who risks those rewards, as meager as they 
may be, and, in addition, invites brutal re- 
taliation, is suspect. 

Courage is a possible explanation for such 
strange behavior, but so is illness. And illness 
is a more welcome explanation: seeing dis- 
sent as courage threatens one s own integrity. 
If to dissent is to be courageous, then in 
not dissenting one is a coward. But even more 
fundamentally, if the dissidents are right then 
the conventional views of conventional Soviet 



citizens are wrong. Acceptance of and reliai 
on the system are called into question. It 



easier and 



more com 



forting to see the 



t 



t! 



tl 



sident as mentally ill. and when that diagno 
is forthcoming, it is a relief to everyone 
including the psychiatrists themselves, w 
are no less conventional than their lav co 

rades. 

Homo sovietic 

TF a narrow definition of normality 
tains in the U.S.S.R., so does a tiff 
definition of illness. Snezhnevsky"s schi2 
phrenia net is so broad that it catch 
behaviors that ordinarily fall well outside 
nets of other diagnostic systems. \^ ith 
orthodox political behavior so likely to 
voke scrutiny and the question of illness, ar 
with a diagnostic system so inclusive that 
has a niche for almost any deviant behavi 
a dissident stands a substantial risk of beii 
diagnosed schizophrenic whether or not 
state interferes. 

But pressures are felt. The laws are repre 
sive. Dissent is, in effect, illegal. Harsh pui 
ishments lie in store for those who defy 
articles in the criminal code forbidding ant 
Soviet acts or the dissemination of views crit 
cal of the state. Dissidents are closely watche( 
They tend to be arrested. Some may be se 
for psychiatric examination by KGB authc 
ities because a decision has been reached a] 
the highest levels that hospitalization is a cod 
venient solution: this has probably occurred 
in the most notorious cases and may still occu 
from time to time if it appears likely tha| 
publicity can be avoided. More often, I sug 
pect. the dissident is sent for examination be 
cause the KGB investigator assigned to th< 
case has a vague suspicion that he is in fac 
mentally ill. After all, the investigator, too 
is an ordinary Soviet citizen — more ordinan 
than most — and knows even better than mos 
the senselessness, in purely practical terms, o 
dissenting acts. He is also aware of Article 7< 
in the Code of Criminal Procedure, whicl 
requires him to call for a psychiatric examina 
tion if he has any doubts at all about th< 
defendant's mental health. 

When the psychiatrist is finally confronte< 
with the dissident, he knows he is dealing witl 
someone who stands accused of committinj 
what is considered by authorities to be a seri 
ous crime. He is on his toes. He probably doe 
not know, in most cases, whether a high-leve 
decision has been made by the KGB to hos 
pitalize the dissident, or whether the KGI 
investigator had genuine doubts about thi 



36 



jjj dent's mental health. The safer course is 

issunie that the KGB would like the dis- 
lt to he hospitalized. The psychiatrist 
•elf is often in a special group to begin 
m : he is a forensic psychiatrist, usually a 

Iultant to the KGB, and is particularly 
itive to the expectations of authorities. If 
i s sure that the expectation for hospitaliza- 
exists, then much less evidence of illness 
jeded to establish a diagnosis. If he does 
know, then his need to play it safe may 
ence him to see more symptoms than he 
narily would — sufficiently more to justify 
agnosis of illness. 

dded to all this is the cynicism that per- 
;s Soviet life. Doubts that may prevent a 
hiatrist in another country from diagnos- 

illness — doubts about the symptoms, 
bts raised by the fear that the profession 
>eing subverted — tend to be suppressed. 

is dangerous enough without endangering 
ore. 

sychiatrists, like others schooled in Soviet 
know how to juggle feelings and words 
hat they can act basely and still feel good, 
1 virtuous. And, finally, when political 
isure increases, when the KGB's authority 
xercised, and when avoiding the call for 
aitalization is no longer possible, corrup- 
takes over the structure of professional 
tence. How could psychiatry fail to suc- 
lb? In that immensely bureaucratized and 
tnately value-free society, the classical 
is and verities give way entirely when the 
nymous muscle of authority is flexed. Ex- 
t in rare cases, fear and the need to survive 
rantee this. 



"\OWE ARE dealing with ambiguous and 
complex circumstances. The misdiag- 
^^noses seem to result from different cora- 
_^binations of determinants. Some mis- 
gnoses are influenced primarily by real or 
umed pressure, some are influenced more 
a genuine perception of illness, some more 
the psychiatrist's belief in the Snezhnevsky 
tern, and some more by a corrupt cynicism. 
! are dealing, in other words, with a pro- 
sion vulnerable to the greatest pressures, 
)tected by the fewest safeguards, and prac- 
2d by people who belong to a species of be- 
;s known as Homo sovieticus. 
Yet the profession is still psychiatry, and 
it species is only a variant of humankind, 
lere then is evil? Having acknowledged 
mplexity, what can we condemn? Do we 
idemn Soviet psychiatry only for those cases 
which pure cynicism and outright corruption 
svail? Or do we also condemn it for those 



cases in which cynicism is merely subsidiary? 
Just dealing with the complexity blunts our 
response to abuse. If we try too hard to un- 
derstand it all, we may be left with nothing 
to say, while the abuse — the misdiagnosis — 
goes on. 

But there is evil. There is systemic evil. 
It is evil that circumstances should conspire 
so that some psychiatrists actually do see dis- 
sidents as ill — dissidents who would be judged 
healthy by psychiatrists anywhere else. If the 
misdiagnoses were simply a matter of the KGB 
ordering and psychiatrists obeying, then we 
could condemn only the orderers and the 
obeyers. But it is more frightening that a 
political culture could arise in which orders 
do not have to be given because no one has 
to be told, in which people, psychiatrists in- 
cluded, act to satisfy expectations they are 
not even sure exist. And it is more damning 
that such a culture can distort the way people 
— psychiatrists included — see one another, so 
that courage is perceived as madness and de- 
viance as disease. 

There is personal evil, as well. Even if 
Soviet life distorts the perception of social 
behavior so that political dissent is skewed 
with pathology, and even if the Snezhnevsky 
system provides a deceptive, scientific ratio- 
nale for adorning such nonpathology with 
diagnostic labels, Soviet psychiatrists must 
recognize that their judgments are distorted 
by political and social influences and that their 
professional integrity is thus subverted. They 
have to understand that, under the raw and 
compromising circumstances of Soviet life, 
they have allowed all of psychiatry's natural 
and ordinary vulnerabilities to be realized, all 
of its everyday possibilities for error and so- 
cial control to be harnessed, so that in the end, 
in a tragic parody of Marx, quantity has be- 
come quality, and banality, forced to its limits 
on every front, has become evil. 

If Soviet psychiatrists — and the Soviet lead- 
ership — failed to see this before, they should 
have been helped to see it by all the years of 
criticism. It may be true, as Spinoza said, 
that if men do evil it is only because they fall 
hostage to imperfect reasoning, to external 
causes, and to confusing passions. People are 
indeed hobbled by limited vision, caught up 
in powerful forces, and subject to pressing 
needs. But that does not make them less re- 
sponsible for their actions. Responsibility has 
to be taken. It has to be assigned. Maybe the 
universe can be absolved from evil, but not 
man. So long as he has the capacity to see evil 
in himself, he cannot be allowed to deny it 
forever. He has to be told it's there. And if he 
fails to listen, he has to be condemned. □ 



'In that im- 
mensely bu- 
reaucratized 
and ultimately 
value-free 
society, the 
classical oaths 
and verities 
give way 
entirely when 
the anony- 
mous muscle 
of authority 
is flexed." 



HARPER'S 
AUGUST 1978 



37 



FROM THE 
JflSTORYOF 
THE PARTY 
OF cMODERATE 

PROGRESS 
< WITHIN 
THE LIMITS OF 
THE LAW 

a short story by Jaroslav Hasek 

In 1911, the year of general elections to the 
Austro-Hungarian parliament, Jaroslav Hasek in- 
vented a new way to shock the Prague bourgeoi- 
sie — and to satirize the existing political system. 
Meeting in their favorite tavern in the section of 
Vinohrady known as Kravin ("Cowtown" ), Ha- 
sek and his friends founded a new political party 
and christened it with the imposing title "Party 
of Moderate Progress Within the Limits of the 
Law." Hasek was nominated as the party's can- 
didate, chief campaigner, and official historian. 

— P.K. 

As soon as parliament was dissolved, our 
executive committee located in Kravin decided 
that we would take an active part in the elec- 
tions by running our party's candidate. The 
following manifesto was therefore posted in 
Kravin: 



Jaroslav Haiek, author of the Czech classic The Good 
Soldier Schweik and hundreds of comic sketches for 
newspapers and magazines, died in 1923. This story was 
translated by Peter Kussi, who has translated fiction, 
nonfiction, and poetry by Czechoslovakian writers, most 
recently The Farewell Party, by Milan Kundera. 



\ t = 

m MANIFEST 

To the Czech people ! 

It was in the year 1492 that Coll 
bus set sail, determined to disco 1 * 
America. Several centuries h£ 
elapsed since that time, and it 
evident that the state of progress 
observe today in the lands discove 
ed by Columbus could not have co 
into being suddenly or violently, 
the contrary, ever since that hi 
toric event when the most famous 
Czechs-Columbus-sailed from Jan 
vice* and discovered America, prl 
gress unfolded moderately, with! 
the limits of the law. Certain! 
America could never have reached i| 
present cultural eminence if ColuJ 
bus had not discovered it first. 

Columbus proceeded methodically 
guided by the principle of moderafl 
progress within the limits of the law 
First, he obtained permission frcj 
the proper authorities for his vom 
age, and he was careful to land I 
the very edge of America so as not tl 
push things to extremes. It was onl 
later that an American discoverej 
the mainland proper, which is why I 
is still called America in his honon 

Progress made it necessary to proi 
ceed slowly and gradually, to wip 
out Indians, then to introduce slavi 
ery, to move forward step by ste 
until finally, after several centu 
ries, Edison succeeded in inventin 
the phonograph. If Columbus had no 
voyaged to America-if he had neve 
attempted this little tourist expe 
dition-Indians would still be fight 
ing among themselves, we couldn 1 
listen to phonographs, and our coun 

* The Czech word for Genoa is Janov; Janovice is 
.village in Bohemia. 



38 



BF THE PARTY 



I r would be without the ma j or source 
I its income-tobacco taxes ; our sim- 

I ) rural folk would be reduced to 
|t irvation since potatoes would be 

■ snown and so would potato dumplings 

II potato vodka-in short, it would 
i in the end of prosperity. That's 
\r Columbus had ventured forth and 

■ scovered America, inspired by that 
I autiful old Czech proverb: "He 
H itured forth and made a wheelbar- 
| w. " 

\ knd thus we, too, Czech People, 
4 ne before you with a new program. 
\, too, have ventured forth to or- 
I nize a new political party, and we 
e convinced that the results will 
ar out the Polish proverb: "Big 
: nf lagrations start from tiny 
arks . " 

Czech People ! Czechs ! Fellow Coun- 
I ymen ! Columbus had no idea what 
uit his trip to America would some 
|y bring. He didn't know the conse- 
ences that would flow out from his 
nture-he couldn't have guessed 
at his undertaking would even- 
ally culminate in events of world- 
de importance. He had no inkling 
at his voyage to the unknown West- 
■n shores would eventually result 
i a million-dollar Carnegie endow- 
mt to American universities. In 
le same way, we who have founded a 
!W political party can have no idea 
lat benefits this party will ulti- 
itely secure for mankind in general 
id for you in particular, dear Czech 
jople ! 

All of you are no doubt curious 
)out the party's platform, about 
;s program. But what motto could be 
>re beautiful than the inspiring 



slogan the party has emblazoned on 
its shield-Moderate Progress Within 
the Limits of the Law? 

Citizens, Czechs I 

Being mindful of the fact that the 
law protects every person from vi- 
olence, we have placed our program 
under the protective wing of the law. 
And since all our laws go hand in hand 
with moderate progress by becoming 
reformed in due course of time, our 
platform rests on the solid princi- 
ple of moderate progress. For it is 
certainly unthinkable that an infant 
could reach manhood in any sudden, 
violent manner; this can happen only 
through natural development, day by 
day, year by year. 

Czech People ! 

Before you enjoyed the happy rule 
of the Habsburgs, the Premysl dynas- 
ty had to be established, and then 
the Jagellonians and the Luxembourgs 
-only after many centuries have 
passed did progress culminate in the 
rule of the Habsburgs. In the same 
way, the Svatopluk Cech bridge 
wasn't built in a day; Svatopluk 
Cech first had to be born, write po- 
etry, become famous, die, and only 
then did the Svatopluk Cech bridge 
come into existence. 

Czechs I In the Czech nation there 
are many parties which maintain that 
everything can be accomplished all at 
once-suddenly ! Other parties will 
tell you that nothing can be done 
at all! Then whom should you trust? 
Trust those who bring before you the 
successful, time-honored formula of 
moderate progress within the limits 
of the law. 

Prague, April, 1911. 



Jaroslav Hasek 
FROM THE 
HISTORY OF 
THE PARTY 



Election Day 



HARPER'S 
AUGUST 1978 



T^*^ O POLITICAL PARTY put up a more 

|\ I vigorous campaign than we. We or- 

I \| ganized a steady stream of speeches 
™ and meetings up to the very last day 
— the day when the voters of Vinohrady were 
to demonstrate their political maturity by vot- 
ing for the Party of Moderate Progress With- 
in the Limits of the Law. Unfortunately, most 
of those who pretended to sympathize with 
the claims of the new party turned coward in 
the end, deserted our colors, and voted against 
us. Only thirty-eight brave men in our district 
refused to be frightened or seduced by the 
national socialists, social democrats, or con- 
servatives and voted for the candidate of the 
Party of Moderate Progress Within the Lim- 
its of the Law — namely, myself. 

I can never fully express the high regard I 
have for this small band of my supporters; I 
shall always proclaim that they acted like true 
men and patriots. Arrayed against these thir- 
ty-eight incorruptible warriors stood two thou- 
sand nine hundred sixty-two fanatics, belong- 
ing to the aforementioned three political camps. 
And the thirty-eight advanced to the ballot- 
box proudly and enthusiastically, in order to 
express their true convictions. 

I declare that these men were pioneers of 
new ideas, and that they stood tall and proud 
like so many Apollos. Human history will 
never learn their names, and yet they certainly 
deserve a monument; for these heroes fought 
courageously, knowing quite well that they 
would fall on the battlefield, side by side with 
their leader. 

Our defeat at the last elections was, in real- 
ity, the portent of future victories. As the re- 
alists say, we got a drubbing but gained a mo- 
ral victory. We were thrashed like oats but it 
was the dawn of a happier future, as the lib- 
erals say. Only thirty-eight votes for our can- 
didate, but as the clerical party is fond of 
saying whenever it gets clobbered — the resur- 
rection is near. 

The fact of the matter was that from the 
very beginning we were surrounded by pow- 
erful hostile forces. Across the street from our 
small headquarters at the Sign of the Bull 
were the offices of the conservatives, full of 
gaudy signs: "Vote for Viktor Dyk!" And at 
our back we could see the grimacing windows 
of the national socialists, boasting menacing- 
ly: "Vote for Vaclav Choc! Vote for the best 
man in Vinohrady!" 

Our position was reminiscent of that of an 
innocent child standing on the roof of a flooded 
home, while murky waters swirl all around. 



We were like an innocent virgin dragged i 
a den of shame and surrounded by evil pim 
We felt like a man in the woods with his 
down, unwittingly squatting on a porcupi 

From our beleaguered fortress we 
streams of political reactionaries who w 
seduced by the fine Grand-Popovic beer 
tap at the Choc headquarters, or the good Si 
chov brand served by the Dyk organizath 
By an unfortunate circumstance, our part 
beer was from a small local brewery and ( 
people spent more time in the toilet than in 
streets. Another unfortunate circumstance a 
the fact that the tavern that served as o 
headquarters was called "At the Sign of 
Bull." And now put it all together: the toil 
the Bull, the Party of Moderate Progi 
Within the Limits of the Law, the unorthod 
political program, and you'll see that the 
suit was inevitable. As the French would 
— a debacle. 

All our frantic last-minute efforts were us 
less. In vain did we pour out a barrage 
signs and posters: "*\ oters — Protest the Sens 
less Mexican Earthquake!" "Free Lottt 
Tickets for Every Citizen — Win Fifteen M 
lion Gold Francs!" "A Free Pocket Aquarii 
for Every Voter!" "Voters — We Double 3 
Offers of Our Competitors!" 

It was all useless. Large crowds pressed 
to our offices, it is true, but instead of givi 
us an assurance that they would vote our wa; 
they only had a beer or two, freely used 
toilets, and left. 

Meanwhile, we were getting alarming r 
ports about our rivals, informing us that 
furious last-minute campaign was being wage 
against us. We hung the following notice 
our window: "Wanted: 'A young boy of e3 
cellent moral character, to help spread scui 
rilous rumors." 

At noontime, another large sign appeare 
in the window of our offices: 
today's menu, selected exclusively fo 
our distinguished voters: 

Soup A la reine, with sherry. 

Cold salmon, mayonnaise. 
Choice of Elephant trunk in aspic 

Roasted camel tails, lobster sauce 
Fried seahorses with baked seaweed 
Stuffed kangaroo pouch, a la Sydney 
Shark livers au naturel 
White rabbit in blue sauce 
Desserts Plum dumplings in chocolate sauce 
Tatar mare's-milk cheese 
Beverages Choice Austrian and Hungarian wine 
Beer 

Toward one o'clock, one voter came an 
ordered a cheese sandwich. That was a ba 
sign. And by six, we had lost by two thousan 
nine hundred sixty-two votes. C 



40 



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OF MITES AND MEN 



In which scientists and environmentalists argue about the right way to kill insects 



by William Tucker 



Nothing is easier than to admit in words the truth 
of the universal struggle for life, or more difficult 
— at least I found it so — than constantly to bear 
this conclusion in mind. 

— Charles Darwin. The Origin of Species 

r N THE early 1950s, a small company named Nutri- 
I lite Products, Inc., in Buena Park. California, was 
I making a modest income selling a vitamin sup- 
L plement guaranteed to be made completely from 
latural" products. The vitamins were extracted from 
falfa grown on Nutrilite's 1,000-acre farm in the 
an Jacinto Valley, 100 miles northeast of Los An- 
sles. The company was using only "organic" humus 
trtilizers and no chemical pesticides when, in 1953. 

discovered an infestation of small, green aphids 
ating their way th rough the crop. 

7 illiam Tucker is a contributing editor of Harper's. For his 
•tide "Environmentalism and the Leisure Class," (December, 
977), he was voted an Honorable Mention in the Annual 
erald Loeb Awards, and was recently chosen as a winner in 
ie Annual John Hancock Awards. Both awards are for 
ccellence in business and financial journalism. 




Nutrilite felt morally obliged to avoid treating its 
fields with chemical pesticides, so the late Carl Rehn- 
borg, founder of Nutrilite, consulted agricultural scien- 
tists at the University of California at Riverside, who 
suggested he try spreading an insect-attacking fungal 
disease among the aphids. "We did it and it worked," 
Rehnborg wrote later. "It was a great moment in the 
history of this company." 

Two years later, in 1955, when Nutrilite's alfalfa 
fields were again attacked by the voracious caterpillar 
larvae of a small, mothlike lepidopterous insect, Nutri- 
lite again turned to the universities. This time Rehn- 
borg was directed to Berkeley, where Dr. Edward A. 
Steinhaus, often called the "father of insect pathology 
in the United States," introduced him to an insect-at- 
tacking bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis, which 
had been first isolated in Germany in 1911. "BT," as 
it came to be called, was known to infest a wide vari- 
ety of lepidopterous (moth and butterfly) larvae, while 
being completely harmless to humans, animals, and 
other insect families. Once again, the product worked. 

Rehnborg was impressed and began considering 




43 



marketing BT for use against the dozens of lepidop- 
terous insects that variously attack cotton, vegetables, 
fruit orchards, forest trees — almost every form of 
vegetation. He hired an entomologist named Dr. Ab- 
dul Chauthani, who went to work in Nutrilite's small 
laboratory, developing various strains of BT and try- 
ing to isolate other insect-attacking bacteria and vi- 
ruses. In 1960, at a cost of $300,000, Nutrilite was 
able to register BT with the U.S. Department of Agri- 
culture for use against the cabbage looper. Since the 
USDA would require similar "efficacy" testing for use 
of BT against each separate pest on each separate crop, 
Nutrilite limited its work to cabbages and tried to save 
enough money to extend registration to other crops. Sev- 
eral larger companies in the pesticide field noted Nutri- 
lite's success and registered BT for other uses. By 1962, 
when naturalist-author Rachel Carson first publicized 
the "biological control" of insects as an alternative to 
toxic chemicals like DDT, she was able to describe Ba- 
cillus thuringiensis as one of the most promising "al- 
ternate" methods, already used successfully against 
alfalfa pests in California, gypsy moths in Canada and 
Vermont, and banana-eating insects in Panama. 

For the next ten years, the pace of research acceler- 
ated at Nutrilite, and by 1970 Dr. Chauthani and oth- 
er researchers had isolated a wide range of bacteria 
and viruses that could selectively attack a variety of 
insects. The company had obtained two "experimental- 
use" permits from the USDA and had about ten other 
promising products waiting to go into registration pro- 
cedures, when it ran into an unusual and unexpected 
opponent — the environmental movement and the new- 
ly formed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

In 1972, the EPA, formed after nearly a decade of 
public agitation about environmental problems, began 
enforcing the brand-new Federal Environmental Pes- 
ticide Control Act, passed that year. The bill had 
been adopted in response to widespread public fears 
about D1)T and other chemical pesticides, first raised 
by Carson's Silent Spring, published in 1962. Respond- 
ing to the Congressionally mandated task of reviewing 
registration of all 30,000 existing pesticides, in addi- 
tion to enforcing tighter registration requirements 
against new pesticides, the EPA revoked Nutrilite's 
two-year-old experimental permits and asked for two 
more years of data proving that insect bacteria and 
viruses could be used safely in the environment. Nutri- 
lite would be forced to spend about $200,000 on test- 
ing before it could begin experimenting with the bac- 
teria again. In addition, there would eventually have 
to be extensive toxicity testing to prove that the bac- 
teria would not have unintended effects on small mam- 
mals, fish, birds, marine life, or farm animals, nor 
would it leave residues that might produce cancer, mu- 
tations, or birth defects in humans. What was worse, 
the EPA itself seemed unsure about how the strict en- 
vironmental standards should be applied to such "bio- 
logical" controls. "The EPA changed its mind so many- 
times, we gave up trying to figure out what they want- 
ed," said Dr. Chauthani when I interviewed him by 
telephone this spring. 



After several years of frustration Nutrilite retrenc 
its efforts to register new products, and tried to 
tinue making money with BT. By 1971, however, 
bott Laboratories had developed another strain of 
that worked more effectively. Nutrilite would havi 
switch to the new strain to remain competitive, 
company officials soon realized that the EPA was 
ing to require complete re-registration of the : 
strain even though it was genetically only slightly 
fereht from the old one. In desperation, Nutrilite j 
posed combining its old BT strain with the newly 
veloped pyrethroids, a synthetic version of the p 1 
thrin chemicals derived from the chrysanthemum fi 
er and used against insects for centuries. The EPA 
formed Nutrilite that it would still have to go thro 
the $500,000 registration procedure for each sepai 
insect on each separate crop because the new synth 
pyrethrins had not been proved to be safe, even thoi 
they are almost the same chemical compounds as 
natural pyrethrins that are known to be safe. 

With nowhere to go, Nutrilite withdrew its own 
strain from the market in 1975, and has since ab 
doned all further research on insect bacteria and 
ruses. The company has decided to continue some 
search in breeding parasitic insects simply beca 
this form of biological control has not yet been 
quired to go through registration procedures by 
EPA. The company was financially weakened by 
unsuccessful venture into biological controls, and 
1975 most of its stock was bought by the Amway C 
poration, a Michigan firm that sells shoe polish a 
cleaning products door-to-door through a franchis 
system. Amway officials say they intend to contir 
spending some money for insect-control research, 1 
are mainly interested in marketing Nutrilite's vitan 
supplement. 

"We're very bitter," said Dr. James Cupello, mi 
ager of insect-control research at Nutrilite, when 
talked to him on the phone in March. "But this co 
pany is not going to spend another penny trying 
develop biological controls as long as we have to 
through the EPA. The risks are too great that we 
spend a million dollars on research and four yea 
later we'd find out that the EPA wouldn't let us re 
ister the product. We've had the reputation of bei; 
the leading marketing company for biological contrc 
in this country, but nobody is going to be able to ( 
anything in this field as long as they have to contei 
with the EPA. We're going back to making vitam 
supplements and trying to stay as far away as possib 
from the Environmental Protection Agency." 

I FIRST BECAME INTERESTED in finding out what ha 
pened to Rachel Carson's "other road" of biolo; 
ical insect-controls after reading several newspap» 
stories on the subject in the past two years. Eac 
of these accounts told of the wonders that had bee 
coming out of the laboratories over the past decade- 
insect chemical mating signals, or "sex pheromones. 
had been molecularly decoded and synthesized so the 



ccj Id be broadcast on infested fields where they would 
)u i the insects' mating attempts into a three-ring cir- 
■j • "juvenile" and "anti-juvenile" hormones had 
)[ ii discovered that could either keep insects forever 
iv f ng and sexually immature or make them try to 
, ■ amorphose prematurely into adults before they had 
j a had time to grow their larval whiskers; strange 
j terial and viral diseases had been isolated that at- 
{ ced only certain insects and left other species un- 
p med. Checking back into Silent Spring, I found 
,• t the early research on all these methods of bio- 
)i ical control had been the main substance of Rachel 
Bo son's "other road" of biological controls that would 
I 1 us away from toxic chemicals like DDT. 
in Jut there was a curious footnote in all these stories 
t| t usually didn't occur until about the last three para- 
ie phs. For some incomprehensible reason, the En- 
u onmental Protection Agency was not allowing any 
I these new "third generation" pesticides to be reg- 
I ;red without demanding the enormously expensive 
I ;ing procedures originally designed to keep chem- 
a Is like DDT and the other "bad" pesticides off the 
i rket. As a result, most of these new methods were 
i 1 languishing in the laboratories. The situation was 
a rays treated as some odd mistake, some bureaucratic 
/ il-up that would be straightened out as soon as the 
t 'A could settle down, stop "reorganizing," and un- 
rstand the facts clearly. No one seemed willing to 
isidei that the generals at the EPA might still be 
) hting the last war, and that the broad snare of reg- 
i ition designed to capture DDT and other "old-fash- 
i led" pesticides had now entangled the new genera- 
i n of pesticides as well. It appears, however, that that 
i what has happened. 
The biological controls that Rachel Carson offered 
the other road to' pest control have indeed come 
age after a decade of brilliant research by Amer- 
in chemists and entomologists. Scientists have dis- 
vered all anybody would ever want in an insecticide 
carefully isolated chemicals that attack only the "tar- 
t" pests, leave beneficial insects unharmed, and seem 
leave no long-term residues that could harm other 
ganisms in the environment. But while these serious 
search specialists were seeking the answers to envi- 
•nmental problems in the laboratories, another army 
enthusiasts was traveling its own other road, which 
d straight to Washington. This was the environmen- 
1 movement, a concatenation of glorious amateurs, 
iroused" citizens with a knack for talking about 
bat they really didn't understand, vocationless aris- 
'Crats defending the imagined glories of the past, 
Dusewives with a flare for writing publicity releases, 
.wyers with a talent for histrionics, and "militant" 
dentists and academics with a willingness to shade 
le truth just a bit in pursuit of a "good cause." This 
rmy arrived in the Capital in the early 1970s, quickly 
luted DDT and its allied devils, occupied offices close 
) Capitol Hill, and have roamed the halls of Congress 
ver since. Its major accomplishment has been to 
uild a wall of regulation so solid and insurmountable 
lat almost no pesticides should ever be able to scale 



it again. When the serious scientists, who had attempt- 
ed a positive approach to the problem, arrived in 
Washington with the results of their research, they ran 
up against the brick wall of the Environmental Pro- 
tection Agency. They have been fruitlessly beating their 
heads against it ever since. 



Wonders in the lab 



A truly extraordinary variety of alternatives to 
chemical control of insects is available. Some are 
already in use and have achieved brilliant success. 
Others are . . . little more than ideas in the minds of 
imaginative scientists, waiting for the opportunity 
to put them to the test. All have this in common: 
they are biological solutions,, based on understand- 
ing of the living organisms they seek to control, and 
of the whole fabric of life to which these organisms 
belong. 

— Rachel Carson, Silent Spring 

IN 1934, dr. Vincent wiGGLESWORTH, of Cambridge 
University, announced the discovery of a gland in 
the insect brain that seemed to control its devel- 
opment through the various wormlike stages of 
"juvenile" growth prior to metamorphosis. Dr. Wig- 
glesworth noted that the gland seemed to become active 
as the juvenile caterpillar shed each successive layer 
of larval skin, then became completely inactive when 
it metamorphosed into a sexually active, winged adult. 

The discovery received wide attention, but remained 
a laboratory curiosity until 1956, when Dr. Carroll 
Williams, a Harvard entomologist, reported that he 
had isolated the hormone that the gland produced. Dr. 
Williams called his discovery a "juvenile hormone," 
and speculated that it could make a "perfect insecti- 
cide." He noted that if larvae were exposed to sufficient 
quantities, they would keep growing into larger and 
larger larvae, failing to reach sexual maturity and 
produce another generation. Insects could hardly de- 
velop resistance, he reasoned, because it was their own 
hormone. Dr. Wigglesworth expressed some skepticism 
that the hormone would be "resistance-proof" (as it 
turned out, he was right), but the discovery prompted 
dozens of biochemists to try to determine the molecular 
structure of the hormone so that it might be synthe- 
sized in large quantities. 

The analysis eventually was accomplished at the 
Cornell University/New York State Agricultural Ex- 
periment Station at Geneva in 1965, but before that 
a remarkable event occurred. In 1964, Dr. Williams 
was investigating the larval development of European 
linden borers brought here by a Czech student, when 
suddenly the larvae began growing into gigantic, non- 
reproducing, "extra" larval stages until they failed to 
metamorphose and died. It was exactly the "juvenile- 
hormone" effect Dr. Williams had predicted, yet no 
one could tell where the excess juvenile hormone was 
originating. 

An exhaustive series of tests finally determined that 
the abnormal growth occurred only when the linden 



borers were raised on a certain kind of filter paper 
made from the North American balsam fir. Apparently 
the tree itself had evolved a juvenile-hormone "ana- 
logue" (a similar chemical) as a means of protecting 
itself against insect attack. Since the balsam fir is pol- 
linated by the wind rather than by insects, and since 
it evolved about 300 million years ago, when insects 
with two-foot wingspans abounded, it seemed entirely 
plausible that the tree had developed its own "juvenile- 
hormone mimic" to protect itself from the attack of 
some ancestral insects. Trees themselves, it appeared, 
had been experimenting with insecticides hundreds of 
millions of years before human beings ever walked on 
the planet. 

A burst of excitement followed in the field of hor- 
mone research. In 1965, Dr. William Bowers, of Cor- 
nell, announced that he had isolated the "active" por- 
tion of the juvenile hormone for the silkworm, and 
had synthesized a chemical that produced the same 
effects in the laboratory. In 1967, Herbert Roller, of 
Texas A & M University, identified the complete struc- 
ture of the silkworm hormone, and a hormone ana- 
logue was soon being used in Japan to prolong the silk- 
making stage of the larval worm. Within a short time, 
a whole series of new hormone identifications were 
emanating from the research labs. 

There was a problem with juvenile hormones in 
insect control, however. Although disease-carrying in- 
sects that do their damage in the winged, adult stage 
could be effectively controlled, an agricultural pest is 
usually a larval caterpillar that attacks the crop before 
metamorphosing into an adult. Prolonging the juvenile 
stage would only make things worse, and the benefits 
would only show up the following year after the in- 
sects failed to reproduce. One early experiment proved 
this when a field of Colorado potato beetles were 
revved up on juvenile hormone and, instead of doing 
their usual limited damage, ate through the entire 
crop. Obviously, the problem could not be solved un- 
less some kind of "anti-juvenile" hormone could be 
found that could perhaps shorten the larval stage and 
put the insect into a premature metamorphosis. 

The idea seemed a bit fantastic, but as frequently hap- 
pens in science, defining the problem brought it closer 
to a solution. In 1975, Dr. Bowers startled the annual 
convention of the American Entomological Societ) by 
announcing the isolation of the first "anti- juvenile" 
chemical, again — incredibly — from a natural source. 
This time it was a small, flowering ageratum plant 
that had also apparently evolved the chemical as pro- 
tection against ancestral insects. "We just hypothesized 
that these things were out there and went looking for 
them," Dr. Bowers said in a telephone interview this 
spring. "A lot of people thought we were crazy, but we 
found what we wanted." As a result of the imaginative 
approach by Dr. Bowers and other scientists, the search 
for new insecticides has now turned largely to chem- 
icals that plants and trees may have evolved over the 
course of geological history for resisting insect attack. 

All these developments followed Dr. Williams's ini- 
tial discoveries. By 1968, however, he had decided to 



try to bring some of the new insecticidal prodttcts 
the public. He began consulting with the Syntex G 
poration, in Palo Alto, California, where he join 
Dr. Carl Djerassi of Stanford, one of the countn 
foremost organic chemists, who in 1977 received t 
$100,000 Wolf Prize in Chemistry for his synthesis 
the early 1960s of the first human birth-control he 
mone. Syntex had been producing Dr. Djerassi's birt 
control hormones, but with Dr. \^ illiams's help so< 
spun off the Zoecon Corporation, devoted completely 
what Dr. Djerassi called "bio-rational " insect contn 
"We had found that hormones were the key to hum; 
birth control," Dr. Djerassi said when I spoke wi 
him in March. "What we were really trying to ! 
was set up a birth-control program for insects." Th 
attracted a team of outstanding scientists to Zoeco 
which, after 1968, became the focal point for devi 
opment tf biological controls in the United States. 

"I helped set up Syntex's insect program with n 
own lily-white hands," Dr. Williams said this sprin 
with a glimmer of irony, obviously aware of the soci 
risks involved when a professor becomes a busines 
man. "We raised $15 million for that corporation 
the twinkling of an eye. There was enormous enthus 
asm for this idea among scientists and investors at tl 
time. We never in our wildest dreams expected that 
would be the government that was going to be o 
posing us in this field. I'm afraid anybody who 
bought stock in Zoecon lost a lot of money. What v 
failed to realize was how : difficult it was going to 
to get these products through all these new gover 
ment regulations." 



The EPA's hoop 

BIOLOGICAL controls faced a unique combin 
tion of economic barriers. Whereas broad 
toxic pesticides like DDT and the organ 
phosphorous insecticides ( malathion and par 
thion) that have replaced DDT can kill almost an 
insect (parathion can and does kill humans as well 
the sophisticated juvenile and anti-juvenile hormone 
are targeted only against particular insects an 
have limited potential markets. Since each individu; 
hormone has to be separately put through EPA n 
istration procedures — now estimated to cost close 
$1 million — it is far more economical to develop 
broadly toxic pesticide like DDT than to develop 
series of highly specific individual hormones that wor 
against only one or two pests. Scientists and busines 
analysts have repeatedly pointed out to the EPA the 
it is actually encouraging further developments c 
broadly toxic chemicals, and discouraging biologic? 
controls, but with no success. 

Terry Burkoth, a thirty-seven-year-old organic chen 
ist with a Ph.D. from Stanford, has handled registra 
tion efforts at Zoecon since 1974. "Although thes 
products were originally based on environmental cor 
cerns, our experience has been that it is actually harde 
to get them registered than it is with toxic chemicals, 





46 



ls jaid when I spoke to him in April. "At the USDA you 

[ a fairly clearcut situation where you could walk 
i» m desk to desk and knew who you were supposed 
lR 3ee. At the EPA you go round in circles. They're 
li ecting to see data that says you can kill ten insects 

1 contact; they're used to things that persist in the 
ironment; they don't seem to understand the prin- 
le of hormones. We've tried putting scientists on 

job rather than lawyers, but it just doesn't work. 
;y've made us jump through more hoops- than if we 
:e coming in with some deadly chemical. 
'At the same time, the requirements keep changing, 
the time you generate the data, they decide they 
nt something else. We were trying to register a 
»wth hormone for a fly that infects cattle, so they 
d us we had to do a year-long feeding study with 
teer. We did the whole thing at a cost of $60,000. 
en, one year after we submitted the data, they came 
:k and said they'd like to see the same test done 
:h a cow as well. They wanted to see if any residues 

s >wed up in the milk. It's really been comical in some 

J these situations." 

11 Dan Lazare has been vice-president of operations 

I d has handled most of the business details at Zoecon 

II ice its founding in 1968: "If you want to invest 
1 >ney in this field, all you can be sure of is that you're 
I ing to lose it," he said in a telephone interview. 

! he EPA got started about the same time we did, 
d it's been a moving-target situation ever since. Ev- 
f time we satisfy one of their regulations, they come 
with something else. We're not bitter, we're proud 
the work we've done. Any company that developed 
o new chemicals in this field in ten years would be 
j ing great, and we've developed dozens. We've spent 
er $20 million at high risk, and most of it is gone 
>w. We tried to make progress in this field, but when 
iu're in a situation where you want to spray some 
trmone on an orange tree just to see if it can kill 
ites, and you've got all kinds of laws against it and 
enty people standing around waiting to put you in 
il if you do, then there's not much you can do." 
Dr. Djerassi is a protean scientist whose influence 
is extended far beyond his immediate work. For ex- 
nple, in 1968, in an article in the Bulletin of Atomic 
dentists, he suggested that agricultural stations in key 
lird World countries could serve as clearinghouses 
investigate the chemical properties of plants that 
ere known by native peoples to have insect-repelling 
I insect-killing properties. At his suggestion, a team 
f research scientists headed by Dr. Jerrold Meinwald 
f Cornell and Dr. Koji Nakanishi of Columbia Uni- 
;rsity set up just such a laboratory in Kenya. They 
icently reported in Science that they have isolated 
iveral "anti-feedant" compounds that appear to dull 
n insect's taste nerves so that it stops eating and dies, 
uch research breakthroughs have been coming from 
ozens of sources over the past decade, although none 
f the chemicals will be developed under current EPA 
olicies. 

Surprisingly, Dr. Djerassi said he does not feel the 
PA is entirely at fault: "The Environmental Protec- 



tion Agency is just reflecting what the press and the 
legislators are telling people," he said this spring. 
"Only the negative side. Right now people are more 
concerned with safety than with novelty. If people 
want new things they are going to have to be willing 
to take some risks. 

"The problem is that the EPA is now policing 
research as well as marketing. You have to have per- 
mission from the EPA before you can even try any- 
thing in this field. Very few companies are willing to 
invest anymore under those conditions. Exxon and 
Monsanto have gotten completely out of insecticides 
[Monsanto still markets one herbicide], and no one is 
coming in to replace them. We've been trying some- 
thing new here, and you don't expect a bureaucracy 
to be able to respond to that very well. If you deal 
with something that is slightly different from that 
which is known, the regulators don't know what to do 
with it. Right now the EPA is simply acting as a 
policeman, and you don't expect a policeman to be an 
innovator." 

After ten years, Zoecon has been able to register 
only one insect growth regulator — "methoprene" — a 
juvenile hormone that works against several groups of 
flies and mosquitoes. The hormone is being used in 
the South to control disease-bearing mosquitoes, and 
it is being' fed to cattle, who excrete it in their feces 
where it kills flies that breed in manure. Zoecon spent 
three years and $500,000 in registering the product. 

"The EPA is still trying to change the label to say 
that it can't be sprayed where it could get into shrimp 
beds," Lazare said. "It's not that they say it does harm 
shrimp, it's just that we haven't been able to generate 
the data yet to show it can't. Methoprene has a half- 
life of one day and breaks down entirely after seven 
days, yet they still required 900 pages of data to show 
how it might affect non-target organisms. The whole 
thing was enormously expensive and completely un- 
necessary. As far as we're concerned, these environ- 
mental concerns have become completely counterpro- 
ductive." 



What does the epa have to say about all 
this? An understanding of the answer 
requires an excursion into the time warp 
that can exist only in bureaucracies. 
Nutrilite, remember, has been working in the field for 
more than twenty years, has already experienced severe 
money problems, and has given up most of its re- 
searcb. Zoecon fired most of its consulting scientists in 
1975 because of financial difficulties, and was bought 
by the Occidental Petroleum Corporation, which re- 
newed some of the research. Yet the top EPA exec- 
utives who handle pesticides are blissfully unaware of 
all these developments, and are proud of the rapid 
pace at which they believe they are bringing along 
biological controls. 

"We're very pleased with the way things are going," 
said Steven Jellinek, deputy administrator at the EPA, 
when I talked to him on the phone in May. "I think 





we've got about six biologicals registered already. [The 
figure is correct.] We're not aware that the companies 
are having any problems with our registration require- 
ments. We've been getting them through pretty quickly, 
in less than two years in some cases. If there have 
been any complaints, we haven't heard about them." 
Jellinek then referred me to Edward Johnson, the dep- 
uty assistant administrator for pesticides, for further 
information. 

"We registered about seven pesticides last year, and 
I think three of them were biologicals," Johnson said. 
"If there's been a burst of achievement in the research 
over the past few years, it just hasn't been reflected 
in our registration applications. We're aware that 
some of our testing procedures are not completely rel- 
evant to biologicals, and I think we'll be moving to- 
ward changing that very soon. You have to remember 
we're moving into an unknown area here. Nobody is 
sure what's going to happen when you put these things 
into the environment, and you have to be careful. I 
think we know enough about biologicals right now to 
try to write some new guidelines. We're more geared 
right now to the thing we know best, which is toxic 
chemicals, but. I think that will be changing very 
shortly. We're seeing a beginning, and the EPA is 
going to be getting itself ready very soon for more 
activity in this area than we've seen in the past." 
Neither Jellinek nor Johnson said that he had any 
idea that any of the companies working in biological 
controls had experienced financial difficulties, or that 
more than 125 biological chemicals have already been 
discovered that will never be submitted to the EPA be- 
cause of the excessive costs of registration. 



IN 1975, after seven discouraging years, Dr. 
Williams discontinued his work at Zoecon. "The 
EPA has become just a bunch of lawyers," he said 
when I talked to him. "They don't know how to 
deal with a new idea. You mention the word 'hormone' 
to them and they practically jump out of their skin 
because they think all creatures have the same hor- 
mones. It's not science that's going on at the EPA now, 
it's just a bunch of bureaucrats trying to make every- 
thing fit into the laws they already have on the books." 

However, Dr. Williams soon found he had not heard 
the last from the Environmental Protection Agency. 
"At Harvard, I discovered we had an infestation of 
African Pharaoh ants in the biology labs," he said. 
"They're very hard to kill, and we certainly couldn't 
spray in the labs because we'd kill everything, so I 
suggested we try some of this new methoprene to see 
if it would work. We took some and baited it with 
peanut butter, and sure enough, it killed the ants, got 
rid of almost every one. 

"But the next thing you know, we had the Envi- 
ronmental Protection Agency up here telling us we 
couldn't use methoprene against ants — it was only reg- 
istered for use against flies and mosquitoes. It would 
have cost us another half-a-million dollars to go 
through the registration process again. Finally we de- 



cided to solve the problem by telling the EPA w»wei 

leaving it around to control any 'mosquito outbreak 
Sure enough, we haven't had one mosquito since then 
he says. "And fortunately, we haven't had any ant 
either." 



Further research and refuse 



Zoecon's inability to make any headw 
against government regulations was not coi 
fined to juvenile hormones. A second, possibl 
even more exciting line of research, one thz 
has also met with frustration, has been in pheromone 
or sex attractants, used by insects as mating signa 
during reproduction. It has been known for more tha 
a century that insects are able to locate each othe 
during mating periods by chemical signals that ar 
usually emitted by the waiting female and traced 
the wandering male. Although the female produce 
these chemicals in micrograms, the male can track th 
scent to a waiting female from more than a mile awaj 
Pheromone chemistry remained a mystery until 195* 
when Dr". Adolph Butenandt, a German biochemis 
completed a twenty-year effort and identified the phei 
omone of the silkworm. The research was not finishe 
in time for mention in Silent Spring, but Rachel Cai 
son devoted much attention to work being done 
the USDA in trying to develop a pheromone analogu 
for the gypsy moth, which annually denudes million 
of trees in the Northeast. By 1966, Robert S. Bergei 
of Auburn University, had isolated and synthesized th 
pheromone for the cabbage looper, a significant agri 
cultural pest. More and more pheromone discoverie 
followed. 

The most productive research has been done by Di 
Wendell Roelofs, a thirty-nine-year-old chemist 
Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, wh 
received the $10,000 Alexander Von Humboldt Aware 
in 1977 for contributions in agricultural research 
Borrowing a method developed by German scientists 
Dr. Roelofs started identifying pheromone chemical 
by measuring the electrical response they producee 
in the male insect's antennae. He reduced the proces: 
of isolating a pheromone from a matter of years to 
few days, and since 1964 has identified the phero 
mones for several dozen major insect pests, while pa\ 
ing the way for the discovery of nearly 100 more. 

From the moment of the first discoveries, there wa; 
strong optimism in both the universities and industry 
that pheromones could lead to effective insect control 
Synthesized pheromone, sprayed over a field at a rate 
of only a few grams per acre, could so confuse the 
insects' mating practices that they would be unable tc 
find each other in order to reproduce. The pheromone 
would affect only the pest insect, and would appeal 
extremely unlikely to leave dangerous residues in the 
environment. And so, in 1970, Dr. Roelofs began worl 
as a consultant to Zoecon, trying to help develop a line 
of pheromone "birth control" agents for insects. 

"We ran into the same problems that all the bio 




ei| «1 controls have had," Dr. Roelofs said in an in- 
«w last March. "We suddenly found that we would 
•equired to produce enormous amounts of data 
it toxicity to non-target organisms and about po- 
al mutagenic and carcinogenic effects for a prod- 
that would only work against one or two insects 

~J had a very limited market. The assumption was 
these things were killing insects, instead of only 
using them, and that they would persist in the 
ronment for years, when our big problem was get- 
them to last for more than a few hours. We had 
hange the chemistry a bit just to keep them from 
•ading before they could become effective. I think 
people at the EPA took a hard stance because there 
so much pressure on them because of the other 
icides. It was much safer for them to do nothing, 
t way, at least, nobody could blame them if they 
jomething get through that turned out to be dan- 
>us later." 

a nearly eight years of effort, Zoecon has not 
l able to register a single pheromone for use 
inst agricultural insects, even though it has isolated 
synthesized chemicals that could work against a 
t of pests that prey on apple orchards, cotton, corn, 
etables, and forest trees. In 1974, in an article in 
mce, Dr. Djerassi stated: "We make the categoric 
diction that if [the regulatory climate is not im- 
ved] promptly, most current public pronounce- 
lts on the likelihood of fundamentally novel . . . 
xt population control agents will represent grossly 
imistic exaggerations." The article received wide 
:ntion in scientific circles, but was ignored by the 
/spapers, Congressmen, and environmentalists. Of- 
als at the EPA said they had never heard of it. 
n 1977, Dr. Roelofs left his consulting job with 
icon to head up a special committee of the American 
titute of Biological Sciences, which had contacted 
EPA and asked if it could submit a report suggest- 
changes that would make it easier to register bio- 
ical controls. An EPA official commissioned the 
ort, and nine committee members worked through- 
; the summer of 1977 drawing up the document, 
t when the committee finally attempted to submit 
report in November, it found that the EPA had 
lergone one of its periodic reorganizations and 
ir contact no longer had the same position. 
'That EPA is the most amorphous organization I've 
;r seen," Dr. Roelofs said. "Our contact told us he 
lldn't accept the report because he had a new job 
e, so he sent us back to see his former supervisor, 
was a while before he responded, and then he told 
his job had also changed and we'd have to see 
neone else. We're still trying to get hold of that 
rson, and haven't been able to get a response as 
t. Everyone on the committee is hopping mad be- 
ase they spent all last summer writing the report 
d now the EPA won't even accept it. We've been 
'ing to hand it in since last November, and we can't 
en find anyone to take it." By early June, Dr. Roelofs 
II hadn't found anyone at the EPA willing to accept 



The pheromone didn't die at Zoecon. The 
company did produce some pheromone 
"traps" that could be spread around fields 
for monitoring insect populations. The EPA 
allowed their use because the traps were being used 
only to count insects, rather than to control them. 
Many scientists openly wondered if EPA regulations 
couldn't be skirted by simply leaving enough traps 
around so that the entire insect population could be 
"counted." The idea was tried with some success, but 
generally proved to be too cumbersome and expensive. 

A breakthrough occurred, however, when the Al- 
bany International Corporation, a plastics manufac- 
turer, became interested in using a line of thin plastic 
fibers as receptacles that could act as decoy female 
insects. The tiny hollow fibers were originally sup- 
posed to be part of a self-mending space suit, and al- 
though they never made it to the moon, they seemed 
ideal for acting as receptacles that could slowly release 
the pheromone. Albany International set up a subsid- 
iary corporation called Conrel (for "controlled re- 
lease") that began the tortuous effort of registering 
a single pheromone with the EPA. Conrel chose 
the pheromone for the pink bollworm, a cotton pest 
in California and Arizona that is the target of about 
25 percent of all insecticidal spraying in the United 
States. 

After two years of testing and close to $1 million 
in expenses, Conrel was finally able to register the 
pheromone last March. It is being used on cotton 
fields in California, and may have arrived just in 
time, since the pink bollworm has been rapidly de- 
veloping resistance to the organophosphate chemicals 
that replaced DDT in the late 1960s. Among the few 
fields that suffered no insect damage in California last 
summer were 20,000 acres on which Conrel was com- 
pleting its second year of experiments. The pheromone 
will be used over a much wider area now that it is 
registered, but it will probably be many years before 
the company can increase its production to meet the 
potential demand over the entire .5 million acres that 
are now infested. 

"The EPA made us do extensive tests on potential 
residues in cottonseed oil; even though we told them 
that our big problem was getting the pheromone to 
stay in the environment for more than a few ho irs." 
said Drew Horn, product manager at Conrel. "We 
told them that if it didn't degrade so quickly, there 
never would have been any need for the controlled 
release, but that didn't seem to make any impression. 
Basically, it wasn't logical to assume it was a hazard 
in the first place." 

Although Conrel has achieved success with the pink 
bollworm pheromone, Horn sees only a slim hope that 
many other pheromones will be developed. "None of 
them offers the kind of market we can get with the 
pink bollworm, and the costs of registration are al- 
most prohibitive," he said. "With the pheromones of 
most minor pests, you'd never make back the money 
you spent on getting EPA approval. Hardly anybody 
is willing to spend money in this field right now." Dr. 





Roelofs made a similar comment. "Various people 
have now isolated the pheromones for nearly every 
major agricultural insect pest in the country, and every 
year about four or five companies come around saying 
they'd be interested in developing these chemicals. 
But when they hear what they have to go through in 
registration requirements, they always back off. The 
research is still going on in this area [the EPA itself 
sponsors part of Dr. Roelofs 's research] but in another 
few years it might be different. If nobody is going to 
be able to make any money on these products, the 
necessary funds for research are eventually going to 
dry up." 



A belief in conspiracies 



We could actually extend our regulations to the 
introduction of parasites and predator insects, al- 
though we haven't chosen to do so. Our statutory 
authority over pesticides is very broad, at least as 
our latvyers are interpreting it. 

— Edward Johnson, EPA deputy 
assistant administrator for 
pesticides 

The environmental movement is not com- 
pletely unaware that its efforts have now 
come full circle and are actually blocking the 
introduction of biological controls. Environ- 
mentalists would like to see a replacement for toxic 
chemicals, and spend much of their time acting as 
cheerleaders for a theory called "integrated pest man- 
agement," which actually says nothing more than that 
farmers should try to use the safest possible pesticides 
in the smallest possible amounts. It's hard to use rel- 
atively safe chemicals when they are all illegal, but 
the environmentalists don't want to see their lovely wall 
of regulation disassembled, even to allow a few of the 
"good" pesticides in. The dilemma is acute and might 
cause some people to have second thoughts about their 
actions, but environmentalists have had no trouble 
constructing a "conspiracy" theory that says that the 
whole pesticide fiasco has been masterminded by ma- 
lignant "business interests" that are trying to keep bio- 
logical controls off the market. 

"Business has infiltrated both the EPA and the 
USDA for some time now," said Erik Jansson, a scion 
of wealth from Maryland's horse country who serves 
as the "research associate" on pesticides at Friends of 
the Earth in Washington, D.C. "The major chemical 
companies don't want biological controls because it 
threatens their own business of selling toxic chemicals. 
The large chemical companies have a stake in red tape, 
and have encouraged it to close off biological controls. 
You cannot blame us for red tape!" 

This conspiracy theory was repeated to me in sub- 
stantially the same form by Maureen Hinckle, the full- 
time pesticide researcher at the Environmental Defense 
Fund, which has been the environmental group most 
active in pesticides. Even though the EDF has criticized 
the EPA for blocking biological controls, Hinckle said 



there are other forces at work. "It's been kn<Wvn 
some time that the USDA and the chemical compan 
work hand-in-hand," she said. "I don't want to s 
anything specific, but mysterious things have happen 
Several research projects on biological controls hi 
recently had their funds cut by the USDA." Hinc 
is apparently unaware that most of the pioneering 
forts in biological controls described by Rachel C 
son in Silent Spring had been researched and carr 
out by the USDA, that the USDA recently undertc 
the task of registering the gypsy moth pheromone 
cause no private company could afford it, and tl 
since 1974 the USDA has had a national policy of 
troducing biological controls wherever possible. 

And so. the environmental movement, which spei 
more than 95 percent of its funds on legislation a 
lawsuits, and less than 5 percent on scientific resear 
has decided that excessive government regulation 
pesticides is a conspiracy between the chemical co 
panies and their minions in government. Fortunate 
the scientists who have done the actual research 
biological controls have a firmer grasp of the situati* 
They believe, almost without exception, that the 
vironmental movement and its insatiable appetite 
government regulation is the problem. 

IN the OTHER major field of biological contr 
— insect bacterial and viral diseases — the situati 
is much the same. In 1962, Rachel Carson m 
tioned Bacillus thuringiensis and the "milky spc 
disease" used against Japanese beetles as the m< 
promising bacterial diseases then in use. Today tl 
are still the only bacterial diseases registered for u 
even though more than a dozen others have been ( 
veloped in the laboratories. Carson also described "o 
er perhaps less spectacular work [that] is concern 
with viruses. Here and there in California fields 
young alfalfa are being sprayed with a substance 
deadly as any insecticide for the destructive alfalfa c 
erpillar — a solution containing a virus obtained frc 
the bodies of caterpillars that have died because of 
fection with this exceedingly virulent disease. The b< 
ies of only five diseased caterpillars provide enou 
virus to treat an acre of alfalfa." The disease was 
polyhedrosis virus, and in the late 1960s the USI 
became so enthusiastic about it that agricultural s 
tions in California were printing up instructions t( 
ing farmers how to make their own home brews 
dead caterpillars. The practice lasted until 1972, wh 
the EPA stepped in and asked the USDA to stop. T 
virus, of course, wasn't registered. The EPA undoui 
edly would have prohibited the farmers from prep, 
ing their own viral solutions as well, but found — i 




Ice — that it didn't have jurisdiction. "We always 
>ught that was one of the weak parts of the statute," 
fs Edward Johnson, of the EPA. The virus was not 
» ally registered for commercial use until 1975. "The 
A practically had to twist the arm of the compa- 
involved to get them to register it," said one USDA 
earch scientist. "The EPA wanted to have at least 
4 e thing registered that wasn't as toxic as all the oth- 
pesticides. Companies just aren't interested in this 
1 Id because you spend more in registration than you 
;r make back by selling the product." 
In 1974, the EPA and the USDA sponsored a joint 
nference of virologists and asked them to draw up 
3roposal for easing registration requirements for vi- 
ses. Dr. Max Summers, profesor of entomology at 
ii| xas A & M University, headed the committee. "We 
d already had a U.N. conference in Geneva in 1972 
lere we drew up a proposal which we thought an- 
ered their questions," Dr. Summers said when I 
ked to him on the phone in April. "We told them 
! could just give them the U.N. report, but they 
id to draw up a new one. We submitted it in 1974, 
it nothing ever happened. They gave us a formal ac- 
ptance, but we never heard anything more about it. 
e would have felt better if they had at least said they 
dn't like it, but we never heard anything. A lot of 
worked pretty hard on that report." 
But then, in 1977, the EPA called for still another 
nference, this one entitled "Viral Pesticides : Present 
nowledge and Potential Effects on Public and En- 
ronmental Health." Once again, Dr. Summers was 
| ked to chair a committee that would submit another 
port to the EPA. "We're telling them the same thing 
i said in 1972 and again in 1974, that we think vi- 
ses are essentially safe, but that the EPA should 
odify its testing standards to make them more per- 
lent," Dr. Summers said. "I don't blame them for 
)t taking too much interest. They've got their hands 
11 with the chemical pesticides situation, and I imag- 
e the biological side is pretty insignificant to them 
ght now. We're working pretty hard on this report, 
id I hope we get some response this time. I've found 
idividual people I can talk to and communicate with 
the EPA. It's not that they're not interested in what 
e're doing. It's just that nothing ever happens." 
Edward Johnson is well aware of the situation : "We 
id a symposium a few years back and another sem- 
lar at Myrtle Beach last year, and I think we're mov- 
ig closer to a solution," he said when I spoke with 
im in May. "You can never predict what's going to 
ippen when you start working with something new 
ke this. The insect virologists are satisfied that they're 
ife, but the human virologists say they're still not en- 
rely sure. One of our big problems is that we don't 




have enough staff to handle all these new things. As 
a bureaucrat I can always say we need more money 
to handle just what the Congress puts on our dinner 
plate now, and I've said that publicly many times. For 
example, we should have a few more virologists on 
our staff right now." 

The safety of doing nothing 

IT IS CUSTOMARY IN STORIES such as this that the 
writer should lead the reader to some individual 
or group worthy of public scorn. In this case, we 
have an obvious candidate in the Environmental 
Protection Agency. Yet I find that I must be the bearer 
of the unsatisfying news that the EPA cannot take all 
of the blame for the current fiasco in pesticides. 

There are several reasons for this. First, the EPA is 
only mirroring and enforcing the enormous public de- 
mand for safety and precaution that is embodied in 
most environmental legislation. In truth, we are prob- 
ably getting exactly the sort of Environmental Protec- 
tion Agency we deserve. For example, the 1972 Fed- 
eral Environmental Pesticide Control Act required that 
the EPA review the toxicological and residue testing 
on all 30,000 pesticides then in use. Six years later, 
the EPA has not yet begun the job, even though it has 
spent thousands of working hours in the attempt. It 
took the EPA four years just to sort out the existing 
pesticide data that were shipped over in cartons by the 
USDA. (The USDA, of course, was unhappy about 
losing jurisdiction over pesticides, and made no effort 
to cooperate. EPA officials say the data were "a sham- 
bles.") Then when the re-registration effort was finally 
begun, it ran into heavy sniping from Sen. Edward 
Kennedy's Subcommittee on Administration Practices 
and Procedures, which pulled a publicity-gathering 
"raid" on the EPA files and exposed deficiencies in 
some of the testing data. "They ended up with more 
mice than they started with in some of the experi- 
ments," said Jansson, of Friends of the Earth. The 
EPA withdrew its efforts to work with the old data 
and decided to start from scratch on all 30,000 pes- 
ticides, in addition to continuing its efforts to try to 
review the data on new pesticides. The retesting has 
not yet begun. At various times over the past several 
years, the General Accounting Office, Senators and 
Congressmen, environmentalists, and just about every- 
body else in Washington have managed to attract pub- 
licity by attacking the EPA's "laxity" in testing pesti- 
cides. On top of all this, Congress has just passed the 
1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, which charges the 
EPA with monitoring all 70,000 existing industrial 
chemicals, plus the more than 1,000 new chemicals that 
are introduced each year, for potential toxicity and 
cancer-causing effects. Scientists are questioning wheth- 
er there are going to be enough trained toxicologists 
in the country to handle all the testing. 

At the same time, there is much truth in Dr. Roe- 
lofs's observation that the EPA is much safer doing 
absolutely nothing, rather than allowing a chemical to 



slip through the regulations and subsequently cause 
trouble. Even deputy administrator Johnson is willing 
to admit this. "The only time an EPA official ever 
draws attention is when he lets something by that 
later turns out tp be dangerous," he said in our phone 
conversation. "If you're sitting there under that kind 
of pressure, it doesn't take too much insight to see how 
a person is going to react. If there's any uncertainty 
in your mind whatsoever, you're going to ask for more 
data." A survey of newspaper reports on pesticides 
confirms the view that, if anything, the EPA is not be- 
ing careful enough with pesticides. Anyone reading the 
Washington Post, for example, would be convinced 
that the EPA's major failing has been its extraordinary 
indifference in protecting the public from toxins and 
carcinogens. In the past year or so, the Post has pub- 
lished dozens of stories under such headlines as "Po- 
tential Pesticide Residues Still a Food Hazard," "Res- 
ervation Residents Say BIA Exposed Them to Her- 
bicide," and "The Pesticides Plague." One front-page 
story chronicled how the Kennedy subcomittee's raid 
had turned up evidence that a laboratory in Illinois 
apparently submitted faulty data in a series of pesti- 
cide tests in the early 1970s. Another story dealt with 
a New Jersey Congressman's charges that the EPA 
registered pesticides without setting tolerance levels for 
residues in food. Yet in the past ten years, the Post 
has never made a single reference to Zoecon or Nutri- 
lite and their difficulties in registering biological in- 
secticides. The New York Times mentioned it only once 
at the end of a lengthy magazine story. It seems per- 
fectly obvious that the EPA is exactly right in what 
it is doing, and that the country's entire biological 
controls industry could collapse without the major 
newspapers batting an eye, while if some laboratory 
in Salt Lake City miscounts its mice the chances are 
that the story will end up on the front page. Is it any 
wonder that the EPA has gone into a catatonic fit and 
simply said no to new ideas? 

There is one more explanation for the EPA's ac- 
tions, however, and this one is far more important. It 
is, simply, that, except for a few obvious cases of bu- 
reaucratic malatee, the EPA is absolutely right in what 
it is doing. It may seem that the agency is being ab- 
surdly rigid and uncompromising in its testing require- 
ments, but in fact it is not. Even the scientists who 
have developed biological controls admit that there is 
no way of being absolutely sure that any of these 
new chemicals will not damage non-target organisms, 
persist in the environment, or leave food residues that 
will eventually cause cancer in humans, without doing 
exhaustive testing. 

Take the example of the shrimp beds. It may seem 
arbitrary to think that an insect-growth regulator could 
affect shrimp, but in fact there is good reason for be- 
lieving it might. Insects and shrimp are both arthro- 
pods, animals with external skeletons and jointed legs, 
and are closely related on the evolutionary tree. In 
fact, many smaller shrimp look remarkably like large 
insects as they crawl along the ocean bottom. Shrimp 
certainly do not metamorphose into winged adults, 



but they do go through various juvenile "njaaiph 
stages, and it is entirely possible that an insect juv« 
nile hormone might have some effect on their metal 
olism. And while methoprene appears to break dow 
quickly on land, it could possibly last longer in watei 
Under these circumstances, it is possible that sprayin 
for mosquitoes in a tidal area might affect large nurr 
bers of shrimp in some unforeseen manner. There i 
simply no way of knowing except by undertaking th 
extensive testing now being required by the EPA. Fror 
the beginning, environmentalism has put an ovei 
whelming emphasis on extreme caution in making an 
changes in the environment. \^"hat it has never bee 
willing to acknowledge is that safety and caution als 
have a price, and that they too will generate their ow 
"environmental effects." 



Myths of environmentalisn 



THERE ARE three fundamental problems th£ 
have caused the current dilemma of enviroi 
mentalism. First, there is the myth, whic 
environmentalists have fashioned, of an idea 
preindustrial, prepesticide past, when crops were gooc 
living was easy, and insects were few. This is a corr 
plete fantasy. Second, there is the false distinction be 
tween "natural" and "unnatural" chemicals, and th 
implicit assumption that chemicals like pesticide 
never occur in nature. Third, there is the myth tha 
these "unnatural" chemicals are causing an equall 
mythical "epidemic" increase in cancer. Unfortunately 
the genesis of all three of these ideas can be trace 
directly to Silent Spring. 

Silent Spring is a great book, and for the most par 
has stood the test of time. No one would argue tha 
it was not enormously successful in alerting the publi 
to *he dangers of pesticide use and to some of th 
worst abuses that were then prevalent. It is hard t< 
believe, for example, that whole towns were one 
sprayed with highly toxic chemicals in an effort t< 
wipe out a single pest species lurking somewhen 
among the leaves. It also brought to public attentioi 
the persistence of some pesticides, and their magnifi 
cation through the food chain. For this we owe Rache 
Carson an enormous debt. 

But Silent Spring is also a terrible book, and th 
future excesses of environmentalism appear in embry 
onic form on every page. In discussing what she call 
the system, of "deliberately poisoning our food" witl 
pesticides, Carson says: 

But if, as is now the presumable goal, it is possible 
to use chemicals in such a way that they leave a 
residue of only 7 parts per million ( the tolerance 
of DDT), or 1 part per million (the tolerance for 
parathion), or even of only 0.1 part per million as 
is required for dieldrin on a great variety of fruits 
and vegetables, then why is it not possible, with 
only a little more care, to prevent the occurrences 
of any residues at all? 



I constant insistence on "zero pollution levels" has 
ed to be the most costly and unenforceable aspect 



I much environmental legislation. More important, 
•ever, is the argument that DDT and other pesti- 
:S were causing what Carson called "an alarming 
ease in malignant disease" (cancer), the proof of 
ch is entirely contained in the following sentence: 
e monthly report of the Office of Vital Statistics 
July, 1959, states that malignant growths, including 
;e of the lymphatic and blood-forming tissues, ac- 
nted for 15 percent of the deaths in 1958 compared 
l only 4 percent in 1900." A high school student 
Id probably blush at the distortion. In 1900, the 
•age American lived to be forty-five and had a good 
ice of dying of influenza. In 1962, the same citizen 
Id expect to live to seventy and was therefore six 
« more likely to contract cancer, which is predom- 
ltly a disease of old age. The only reason the per- 
'age of cancer deaths has increased is because in- 
trial civilization has allowed people to live longer, 

bacterial diseases have essentially been eliminated, 
"he myth of the pest-free past was not explicit in 
hel Carson's book, but was implied by her failure 
n to mention the problems of controlling insects in 
iculture. This omission caused one writer, environ- 
ltalist LaMont Cole, in reviewing the book for Sci- 
fic American, to remark: "She does not convey 
appreciation of the really great difficulties of the 
blem [of insect control]. . . . But what I interpret 
>ias and oversimplification may be just what it takes 
vrite a best-seller." Rather than heeding such warn- 
3, however, the environmental movement has woven 
jlaborate vision of a mythical, pest-free past against 
ch the problems of current pest-control methods 

be contrasted. This fallacy was recently reiterated 
Jie Washington Post's front-page Sunday editorial 
;ion, in an article entitled "The Pesticide Plague" 
»fch 5, 1978) : 

Before synthetic pesticides hit the market in 1946, 
:orn belt farmers didn't have many insect prob- 
'ems. They grew a rich diversity of crops, rotating 
them from one field to the next. That way the pests 
attracted to any single crop could not sweep the 
farm like a plague. But with the birth of the Green 
Revolution, small, diverse farms were wiped out 
md massive monocultures, vast tracts of a single 
crop planted year after year, spread across the corn 
belt.... What have [the farmers] got to show for 
it? Since pesticides came to the farms, pest damage 
to corn has not decreased. The latest USDA esti- 
mates indicate corn losses from pests have in fact 
more than tripled . . . ; [meanwhile] the major pes- 
ticide producers — petrochemical giants such as Dow, 
du Pont, Monsanto, American Cyanamid, Standard 
Oil of California (Chevron), Shell — just celebrated 
a record year, with $3 billion in sales. 

nineteenth-century America, insect problems were 
much a part of life that whole towns were some- 
les asked to pray for deliverance. Even the pests 
mselves have not changed to any great degree. De- 
te the "rich diversity of crops," the Colorado potato 



beetle easily spread across the Midwest in the 1860s 
and eventually made it to Europe, where it became a 
major pest. After the first gypsy moths escaped from 
a silkworm experiment in Boston in 1869, the streets 
of New England were so infested that caterpillars were 
crawling up the sides of houses and into people's beds. 
The standard method of protecting crops was to spray 
them with lead arsenate, a practice that produced its 
own Silent Spring, a book called 100,000,000 Guinea 
Pigs, which caused a sensation in the 1930s. The in- 
troduction of less toxic DDT in 1946 was regarded as 
a major advance at the time. 

Of course, there is some truth to the statement that 
"monocultures" of corn have replaced the old diver- 
sity, although growing a rich variety of crops in the 
old days often meant simply having a rich variety of 
pests. But what farmers in the corn belt also have to 
show for their efforts, despite the misleading "increase" 
in pest damage, is contained in the following graph: 

U.S. corn (maize) production by decades 



s 



Based on U.S.D.A. 



According to the USDA figures, there was never any 
increase in corn productivity in the United States until 
synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and new hy- 
brid varieties were introduced after 1945 (pesticides 
probably account for only 20 percent of the increase, 
but have ensured the success of other improvements). 
To produce the same amount of corn under the old 
methods would mean that an additional area equiv- 
alent to Colorado and Wyoming would have to be 
planted. Nor have farmers and chemical manufacturers 
been the only beneficiaries. As John Stuart Mill said: 
"When commerce is spoken of as a source of national 
wealth, the imagination fixes itself upon the large for- 
tunes acquired by merchants, rather than upon the 
savings of price to consumers." Most of the corn is 
used to raise beef cattle, and as a result Americans 
now consume twice as much beef as they did in 1940, 
even though they spend a one-third smaller portion of 
their income on food. 



That which the palmerworm hath left hath the lo- 
cust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath 
the cankerworm eaten; and that which the canker- 
worm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten. 

— The Book of Joel 

THE SECOND AND MORE DIFFICULT problem of 
environmentalism is the widely held belief it 
has fostered that there is an important dis- 
tinction between "natural" and "man-made" 
chemicals, and that it is the "synthetic" chemicals 
manufactured In industrial society that are the cause 
of all our problems. Rachel Carson played heavily on 
this distinction in Silent Spring. An infinite number 
of potential chemicals can be made through nature's 
system of stringing long carbon chains together in 
various forms to form the "organic hydrocarbons." 
Only a fraction of the potential number are actually 
synthesized in nature, but then objects such as shovels, 
axes, plows, and most of the other implements of our 
daily lives do not occur in nature either. There is noth- 
ing inherently "evil" (Rachel Carson's word) about 
changing nature by synthesizing new chemicals, and 
the distinction that "natural" chemicals are "good" 
and synthetics are "dangerous" is completely meaning- 
less. There are hundreds of highly dangerous "natural" 
chemicals, just as there are thousands of perfectly 
harmless "synthetics." Yet environmentalism has man- 
aged to establish the doctrine that everything in na- 
ture is "good," while things that are made in the lab- 
oratory hold the potential for destruction. 

The key sentence that expresses this in Silent Spring 
reads as follows: 

The chemicals to which life is asked to make its 
adjustment are no longer merely the calcium and 
silica and copper and all the rest of the minerals 
washed out of the rocks and carried in rivers to the 
sea; they are the synthetic creations of mans in- 
ventive mind, brewed in his laboratories, and hav- 
ing no counterparts in nature. 

This statement is so filled with absurdities and errors 
that it is hard to know where to begin. In the first 
place, calcium, copper, and other minerals form only 
the tiniest fraction of the diet of living organisms. Ex- 
cept for certain one-celled creatures, all living things 
derive all their energy and most of their substance by 
taking apart large organic molecules ( plants make 
their own carbohydrates using the sun's energy, and 
then break them down themselves, a- process called 
"autotrophism," or self-nourishment I . The point that 
Carson was probably trying to make was that plants 
and animals never had to deal with special kinds of 
organic molecules like the "chlorinated hydrocarbons," 
but if so, she was completely wrong. 

Practically every schoolchild knows the story of Dr. 
Alexander Fleming, the British scientist who in 1928 
accidentally dropped some cheese in a bacteria cul- 
ture and later noticed that a few small, sterilized zones 
had been created. A variety of Penicillium mold was 
growing on the cheese, and Fleming discovered that 
the mold excreted small amounts of a substance that 



killed bacteria. It was soon realized that a wicte v; 
ety of soil fungi and other organisms produce a 
bacterial molds that they use in competing for sp 
with other organisms. Penicillin was the result, 
since that time our major effort against bacterial 
eases has been a process of imitating these soil or 
nisms. \Shat is not generally known, however, is t 
many of the chemicals in these antibacterial molds 
chlorinated hydrocarbons. One of the biggest prod 
ers of chlorinated hydrocarbons are the long "j 
fungi" (actually bacteria) that illustrate one of 
opening chapters of Silent Spring, and that Carson 
scribes as "growing in long threadlike filaments" 
a rate of more than 1,000 pounds per acre! None 
these organisms actually make DDT or other comm 
pesticides, but they do use chemicals that are rema 
ably similar. One Penicillium fungus excretes a che 
ical that is only one molecule different from a co 
monly used fungicide "Dowcide 2S," manufactured 
Dow Chemical. In fact, it seems quite possible that 
presence of these large amounts of chlorinated hyd 
carbons in nature may offer an explanation for 
enormously large quantities of "pesticide residu 
that environmentalists have always been able to fii 
(In 1970. Frank Graham, Jr., reported without iro 
in Since Silent Spring that "the amount of DDT 
Swedish soils exceeds the total quantities ever us 
in that country.") To be sure, scientists who dev 
oped the pesticides and herbicides from chlorinat 
hydrocarbons may not have been aware that they we 
copying nature so closely, but there was a brillic 
kind of inductiveness in that we arrived at the sai 
kinds of chemicals that are used for almost the sai 
purposes in nature. 

In one of the most beautiful passages in Sile 
Spring, Rachel Carson writes: "Most of us walk 
seeing through the world, unaware alike of its bea 
ties, its wonders, and the strange and sometimes tt 
rible intensity of the lives that are being lived abo 
us." She was talking of the insects and their ever-prt 
ent predators. But what Carson was only peripheral 
aware of, and what has emerged clearly only in t! 
past decade of research, is that plants themselves a 
also intensely involved in this struggle for existenc 
and that their form of '"warfare" is largely chernic 
warfare. Simple organisms like fungi and bacteria 
crete substances that kill competing organisms in the 
immediate environment. More complex plants often 
the same thing. Certain cacti give off herbicidal chei 
icals that make it impossible for other plants to ge 
minate in their immediate vicinity. In addition, plar 
are constantly growing thorns, needles, and tough coa 
ings, and synthesizing chemicals to make themselv 
bitter, inedible, and even poisonous to animals an 
insects. In a way it seems foolish for us never to ha\ 
realized it before, but except in instances where tr 
consumption of fruits and nectars leads to seed gei 
eration, plants do not like to be eaten. There is n 
evolutionary advantage for a plant in being eaten, ju: 
as there would be no evolutionary advantage for 
human being in becoming dinner for a Hon. Plant 




•e evolved a vast array of chemicals, from chlorinated 
Irocarbons to juvenile-hormone mimics, in trying 
protect themselves from becoming dinner for other 
;anisms. The simple proof of the matter is that al- 
st everything we eat — -wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, 
n, carrots, peas, beans, bananas, oranges, lettuce, to- 
toes, the list is endless — is a human invention that 
s not exist in nature. They are completely "unnat- 
1" organisms that we have invented for our own 
•poses through a process of chemical and genetic 
nipulation that is in no way different from synthe- 
ng a new organic compound in the laboratory. 
;re is no fundamental difference between changing 
sw atoms in an organic compound and calling it a 
sticide," and manipulating a few genes on a couple 
wild plants and calling the result a "carrot." The 
lliant realization of the past decade of research in 
ect control has been that plants, too, are involved in 
process of synthesizing chemicals to protect them- 
ves from insect attack, and that the most fruitful 
h of research may lie in following the trail they 
/e blazed over the last few hundred million years. 



J Of all the chemicals in the whole history of the 
| world that have done the most good for humanity, 
i in terms of limiting disease, in terms of providing 
food, in terms of relieving suffering, the one that 
I has done the most good would have to be DDT. 

— Dr. William Bowers 



r 



HE LONG FIGHT for a complete ban on DDT. 
and the excesses that were practiced in its 
pursuit, are what is now haunting the envi- 
ronmental movement in its attempt to replace 
S chlorinated hydrocarbons and other toxic chem- 
.ls with "biological" chemicals. The problem is that 
■re is no basic distinction between the two. 
There is no question that there were enormous 
uses of DDT and other pesticide chemicals when 
chel Carson wrote Silent Spring in 1962. Pesticides 
re being used with a "shotgun" approach that was 
ving a tremendous impact on wildlife. Carson was 
firm ground in voicing these concerns, in part be- 
jse the same worries had been expressed by sci- 
tists for more than fifteen years. Writing a prophetic 
By entitled "DDT and the Balance of Nature," pub- 
hed in Atlantic magazine in 1945, the same Dr. Wig- 
sworth who had already identified the juvenile-hor- 
)ne gland in 1934 wrote: 

DDT is like a blunderbuss, discharging shot in a 
manner so haphazard that friend and foe alike are 
killed. . . . Without careful study it is impossible to 
guess what the ultimate results of this process may 
be. . . . Some fish . . . are reported to have been killed 
when they fed on poisoned insects. . . . DDT sprayed 
on peach trees with the object of killing the cater- 
pillars of the Oriental fruit moth is even more effec- 
tive in killing the parasite that is controlling this 
pest. . . . It is obvious enough that DDT is a two- 
edged sword. . . . Chemicals which upset the balance 
of nature have been known before. DDT is merely 




the latest and one of the most violent. . . .We need 
to know far more about [the insects'] ecology — that 
is, about their natural history studied scientifically. 
When the ecology of an insect pest is fully known, 
it is often possible to modify the conditions in such 
a way that its world no longer suits it. . . . But 
when all these so-called cultural or naturalistic 
methods of control have been developed, there re- 
mains a large residue of pests for which insecticides 
must be used. 

Although she essentially ignored the warning in the 
last sentence, Rachel Carson added two more concerns 
to this list — the unforeseen development that long-last- 
ing pesticide residues would be "magnified" through 
the food chain, building up in predators and higher 
organisms, and the concern that insects eventually 
would develop resistance to pesticides and that ever- 
increasing doses would have to be used. 

This was all well and good, but neither Carson nor 
the environmentalists were ever willing to admit that 
it was precisely DDT's long persistence that had in 
many ways made it a superior pesticide, and that any 
pesticide would eventually face the same problem of 
growing insect resistance. The pyrethrins are a classic 
example. Derived from the chrysanthemum flower, 
the pyrethrins are a group of natural chemicals whose 
origins were once held a secret by the Persians un- 
til they were ferreted out by the English, who start- 
ed growing large quantities of chrysanthemums in 
Kenya in the 1880s. Natural pyrethrins presented two 
problems, however — the laborious method of produc- 
tion could not supply the world market, and the pyre- 
thrins themselves broke down quickly in sunlight. In 
the 1950s the problems were finally transferred to the 
laboratories, where scientists soon synthesized the mol- 
ecule. In 1962, Rachel Carson could write: 

The ultimate answer [to highly toxic pesticides] 
is to use less toxic chemicals so that the public 
hazard from their misuse is greatly reduced. Such 
chemicals already exist: the pyrethrins, rotenone, 
ryania, and others derived from plant substances. 
Synthetic substitutes for the pyrethrins have re- 
cently been developed so that an otherwise critical 
shortage can be averted. 

But the problem was that, although they were not 
very toxic to mammals, the pyrethrins were still fairly 
dangerous to fish. In addition, there was still no ade- 
quate solution to the chemicals' short life. A variety 
of carriers were tried, but finally it became simpler 
to change the molecule to create a chemical that 
would last long enough to be effective. Now the pyre- 
thrins were a useful insecticide — but suddenly they 
were an environmental problem as well. Because of 
their new persistence, they posed a danger to fish. In 
addition, now that they were being used more wide- 
ly, insects were beginning to develop more resistance. 
Thus, when the USDA began introducing the synthetic 
pyrethrins into cotton farms in recent years, the En- 
vironmental Defense Fund told the EPA it was opposed 
to their use, even though these synthetic chemicals had 





been specifically approved by Rachel Carson in "Silent 
Spring." What Carson failed to realize, and what the 
environmental movement has since ignored, is that in- 
sects are eventually going to build up resistance to any 
chemical, natural or unnatural, just as bacterial dis- 
eases have eventually evolved strains that are resistant 
to antibiotics. There is already evidence that insects 
are going to be able to develop resistance to juvenile- 
growth hormones, pheromones, and other "bio-ratio- 
nal" controls as well. In short, the battle with the in- 
sects is never going to be over, just as the battle 
against bacterial infection will never really be over. 



Rachel carson's speculation that residues of 
DDT in human and animal tissues were caus- 
ing cancer has mushroomed into a wide- 
spread public certainty that it is the products 
of industrial society that are causing an "epidemic" 
increase in cancer. In the next column, the graphs of 
cancer mortality for an age-adjusted population in the 
United States indicate that there is no "epidemic" in- 
crease in cancer in this country. The only instance of 
a clear increase in cancer rates is lung cancer among 
men. Ironically, this is the only instance where people 
are known to have a personal choice in avoiding the 
carcinogenic material (the National Cancer Institute 
estimates that 80 percent of lung cancer incidents are 
the result of smoking). Among the twenty-four lead- 
ing industrial nations, the United States is sixteenth 
in cancer mortalities for an age-adjusted population. 

What is perhaps most notable in the graph is the 
steady decrease in the rate of stomach cancer over the 
past forty years. Stomach cancer is rife in underde- 
veloped countries in Asia and Africa, and the suspect- 
ed carcinogen is a completely natural substance called 
"aflatoxin," the excretion of a mold that grows in 
stored peanuts and grains. Cancers of the digestive 
system occur in underdeveloped countries at rates up 
to 200 times their incidence in the United States be- 
cause of anatoxins, which are among the most potent 
carcinogens known. The rate of liver cancer from sim- 
ply eating in East Africa is double the rate of liver 
cancer found among 25,000 industrial workers exposed 
to one of the most famous industrial carcinogens, vinyl 
chloride. Moreover, the aflatoxin mold is known to 
establish itself best in peanuts and grains that have 
been damaged by insects! The highest quantity of 
aflatoxin ever found in the U.S. by the Food and Drug 
Administration was in a jar of "natural" peanut but- 
ter. It would be entirely possible to argue that, rather 
than causing an increase in cancer, pesticides and fun- 
gicides have been partly responsible for the notable 
decrease in cancers of the digestive system in indus- 
trialized countries. 

Most of the notions on which Rachel Carson based 
her claim that DDT might be causing cancer were 
highly speculative at the time, and are now a part of 
medical history. She suggested that DDT acted on all 
cells by affecting their ability to use oxygen, causing 
them to mutate back to a more primitive process of 



"fermentation" in order to break down carbohyfl'rate 
The assumption was that this process would affect tl 

nerve cells of insects, causing nerve dysfunctioning, b 
would produce cancer in the other human and anim 
cells as well. This was based on another speculatu 
of the time, that cancer cells were also formed by m 
tations back to this same primitive fermentation pr 
cess. All these theories have since been abandoned. 

It was generally accepted at the time, and has sin 
been proved, that DDT acts as a "nerve poison" by f 
ting into certain highly specialized receptacles at tl 
end of all nerve cells. Insects are extremely vulnerab 
since they have no fat tissues in which to store DD' 
Humans and other vertebrate animals avoid the nen 
poisoning by storing DDT in fat cells, but they 



Mai 

50 



Cancer Mortality RaU 









Lung^X 
























/ 


"•^^Stomach 












/ Coloi 


i and rectum 




Prostate / 


















Pancreas __ 








— Leukemia- 




tsophagus 



1930 
Female 



1940 



50 
45 
40 

| 35 

l» 

I" 
S 20 

Pi 

10 




1950 



1960 




56 



ro on building up stored quantities indefinitely. 
erous tests have shown that a peak level is reached, 
all new material is immediately excreted, so there 
• danger of "slow poisoning" from DDT. In a sin- 
lose, DDT has about the same toxicity as aspirin. 
he other hand, parathion, which replaced DDT 
any uses, is so highly toxic that a single drop in 
ye can kill a person. It is interesting to note that 
iugh Rachel Carson said as many bad things about 
thion as DDT in Silent Spring, the environmental 
;ment chose to concentrate its efforts against DDT 
use of the "slow poisoning" concerns. The result 
been that, while the hysteria has been relieved in 
rban living rooms, hundreds and hundreds of 
i workers and farm children have been poisoned 
use of the increased use of parathion, and about 
.ty-five people die each year. 



A philosophical game 



fW|^TP hile Silent Spring's theory for the ac- 
I W / tion of DDT has not held up, neither 
m^L/ has its model for the development of 

™ Y cancer. The assumption widely held in 
I, and since increased in stature, is that both a dis- 
ion of the genetic material and the intrusion of 
ncer virus are involved in the beginning of a can- 
"incident." The genetic material temporarily can 
lisrupted by a "carcinogenic" substance (which is 
>ably the same thing as a "mutagenic" substance), 
before the genes can be repaired, a virus (which 
sally nothing more than a set of "naked genes") 
>me permanently linked into the long genetic mol- 
e. One current theory, widely accepted, is that such 
;erous "incidents" occur in the body every day, 
most are destroyed by the body's immune system, 
e in a great while, however, an invaded cell escapes 
ction and is able to survive, eventually multiplying 
a cancerous growth. The participation of the im- 
le system suggests that the body's general health 
play a large part in preventing cancer, and there 
many studies linking general malnutrition with the 
f high rates of cancer among some South African 
hmen and other Third World peoples. This sug- 
s that one way to reduce cancer might be to feed 
pie better, but this is an avenue environmentalism 
chosen not to take. 

lecause of the mutation/virus-intrusion assump- 
1, the hunt for industrial carcinogens has settled 
m substances that cause mutations among labora- 
f organisms. The most recently developed method is 
"Ames test," invented by Berkeley biologist Bruce 
les, which uses a highly specialized strain of bac- 
a that is very susceptible to mutations to measure 
tagenic effect DDT and other chlorinated hydro- 
bons have been subjected to the Ames test, and the 
ults show that they do not cause mutations. The 
y exception is toxaphene, which — ironically — is the 
y chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticide still in use. 
iterestingly enough, Ames, who is a staunch environ- 




mentalist, disputes the results of his own test and says 
DDT is "one of the 10 percent of all carcinogens that 
our test doesn't catch," although it is hard to know 
how he has decided this. There is one other study, per- 
formed at the Epley Institute in Omaha, that showed 
that DDT causes a slight increase in liver tumors in 
mice, although not in rats or hamsters. The results of 
that test are still disputed, because the tumors disap- 
pear when DDT dosages are stopped, but Dr. David 
Clayton, who performed the test, says he is satisfied 
DDT is a "mild carcinogen.") 

In addition, there is one more indication, known for 
many years, that DDT was not causing any noticeable 
increase in cancer. This is simply that, among the 
thousands and thousands of factory hands, pesticide 
sprayers, farm workers, and people in malaria-prone 
underdeveloped countries who .have been heavily ex- 
posed over the course of thirty-five years, there has 
never been any indication of an increase in cancer, 
even among workers who suffered accidental exposure 
great enough to put them in the hospital. In the 1950s, 
volunteers ate large quantities of DDT in a series of 
tests and never suffered any adverse effects. 

Most of these facts were known during the late 1960s 
when environmentalists were determined to show that 
DDT was a public health menace. To solve their prob- 
lem, environmentalists invented a kind of philosophical 
game which stated that, although there was no evi- 
dence to show that DDT did cause cancer, it was 
philosophically impossible for anyone to show that it 
couldnt cause cancer. In part, this argument relied on 
the fact that many caricers take from thirty to forty 
years to show up after exposure to carcinogenic sub- 
stances. But even where the evidence was weakest, the 
environmentalists maintained that their position was 
unassailable. William Butler, chief counsel for the En- 
vironmental Defense Fund, which led the attack on 
DDT between 1966 and 1972, repeats the argument to- 
day: "You can't prove a negative," he said when I 
called him in April. "You can't say something doesn't 
exist because there's always a chance that it does exist 
but nobody has seen it. Therefore you can't say some- 
thing doesn't cause cancer because there's always the 
chance that it does cause cancer but it hasn't showed 
up yet. You can't prove a negative statement." Does 
that mean you can't prove that dragons don't exist? 
I asked him. "That's right, you can't say dragons don't 
exist." - 



Butler is absolutely right, of course, in strict 
logical terms. The problem is that the same 
argument applies to any other synthetic chem- 
ical that is introduced into the environment, 
including the "biological controls." Like DDT, the 
blunderbuss of environmental regulation has turned out 
to be a killer of friend and foe alike. But environmen- 
talism has by no means learned its lesson from the 
experience. In fact, it is already looking around for 
new worlds to conquer. Armed with the assurance that 
only industrial chemicals are causing cancer, the en- 




vironmental movement and the federal government are 
now preparing to do for the rest of American indus- 
try what they have already done for pesticides by trying 
to remove all carcinogens from the environment. Speak- 
ing like a Puritan schoolmaster calling the class to 
order, Gus Speth, member of the President's Council 
on Environmental Quality, recently announced on the 
New York Times op-ed page: "The recent controversy 
on the proposed Food and Drug Administration ban 
on saccharin treated us to a dangerous amount of hi- 
larity about the high dosage levels used in animal tests, 
and demonstrated the prevalence of misunderstanding 
in this area." The truth is, he announced, that 1) 
there is "no safe level" of a carcinogen, and 2) lab- 
oratory-animals tests are a sure indication of whether 
a substance causes cancer in humans. "With one or 
possibly two exceptions, every chemical known to cause 
cancer in humans also causes it in animals," he con- 
cluded. The question, of course, is whether it works 
the other way around. 

The National Academy of Sciences has made an ef- 
fort to bring some rationality to the notion that we 
will be able to purge our world of every last trace of 
carcinogenic material. In 1973, it published a book 
entitled Toxicants Occurring Naturally in Foods, which 
noted that trace amounts of cancer-inducing chemicals 
occur naturally in many foods. Another survey of the 
literature by Dr. Russell S. Adams, Jr., of Penn State 
University, found that such common foods as ruta- 
bagas, tea, cabbage, turnips, peas, strawberries, and 
milk all contain traces of chemicals that either cause 
cancer or are closely related to chemicals known to 
cause cancer. Dr. Julius M. Coon, one of the authors 
of Toxicants Occurring Naturally in Foods, and re- 
tired chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at 
Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, had this to 
say about the "no safe dose of carcinogens" doctrine 
when I called him in April: 

"When people say there is no safe dose of a carcin- 
ogen, what they are saying is that we can't find a safe 
level so we . have to assume that there is no safe level. 
But the statement that there is no safe dose of a car- 
cinogen is not a valid scientific statement in any sense 
of the word. We are constantly surrounded by chem- 
icals that may cause cancer, most of them perfectly 
natural. I think it's reaching for the stars to say we're 
going to eliminate all carcinogens from our environ- 
ment. I think the inflation we've seen so far will be 
a drop in the bucket compared with what we'd see if 
they try to enforce this new law [the 1976 Toxic Sub- 
stances Control Act]. We may not have enough well- 
trained toxicologists to perform the tests." 

Yet there seems to be no limit to what the federal 
government is willing to do to indulge the fanatical 
concerns about what we eat, drink, and breathe. Not 
to be outdone by the EPA, the Food and Drug Admin- 
istration has started enforcing new regulations that 
apply the same elaborate toxicological standards to all 
new hybrid varieties of crops that are developed in the 
genetic laboratories. The FDA is no less aware that 
these human inventions are "synthetics" and that they 



offer the same dire possibilities that we may aUlastfl 
poisoning ourselves. This means that the entire cerfl 
ries-old effort of improving breeds for greater yieB 
and better disease resistance could easily drown in 
same sea of red tape that has already suffocated 
pesticide industry. The National Academy of Scienc 
1975 report on pest controls voiced considerable ala 
about the FDA effort. Yet, fueled by the fanatical c 
cerns about pesticide residues and other toxicant trac 
the FDA is moving ahead, and even now the resi 
seem predictable. The hubris of the people who tell 
we can wipe the last traces of toxic and carcinoge 
materials from our environment is the same hubris 
the people who once told us we were going to be al 
to rid the world of insects by spraying ever-increasi 
amounts of DDT. 



Nature herself has met many of the problems thai 
now beset us, and she has usually solved them in 
her own successful way. Where man has been in- 
telligent enough to observe and to- emulate Nature 
he, too, is often rewarded with success. 

— Rachel Carson, Silent Spring 

THE MORE I examine the environmental mo 
ment, the more it seems like a kind of s< 
ular religion, with a decidedly Puritan stra 
Like all religious movements, it draws 
strength from what we don't know. It tries to hide 
the cracks of our understanding, instilling us with t 
fear of what we haven't yet been able to learn fro 
nature. Public anxiety about scientific experimental 
is nothing new. Louis Pasteur's neighbors in Paris b 
sieged the authorities to put an end to his work. Pra 
tically every major medical advance, from autopsi 
and dissections to vaccination and surgery, has m 
with suspicion — and sometimes violent opposition- 
f rom a large portion of the population. Such misgivinj 
have always existed, and are not always ill-founded. Bi 
it is only when some deeply conservative organizatic 
such as the Church or environmentalism has orche 
trated such fears that these anxieties become inst 
tutionalized and all scientific advance comes und< 
suspicion. Only then do ordinary human fears aboi 
newness and invention start to play a decisive role i 
history. 

I am not foolish enough to think that there will n< 
be a solution to the problem of biological insect coi 
trols. The newspapers will discover the situation an 
soon a new "crisis" will be upon us. But what keej 
nagging in the back of my mind in this great Age < 
Environmentalism is what we are going to look lik 
a few years from now. Somehow it seems we are g< 
ing to appear as a generation that was so obsesse 
with misgivings, so afraid of what we didn't — an 
couldn't — know, so anxious to point hysterical accu: 
ing fingers at one another, that we neglected to pic 
up and use the simple tools we had at hand. I hav 
no doubt that someone will eventually use these tool; 
I only wonder if we will ever calm down enough t 
do it ourselves. [ 



* SOMEHOW SCOTCH 
BOTTLED ELSEWHERE 
SN'T QUITE THE SAME. 

ContraRy to popular belief, many More brands of Scotch 
) bottled in America than in Scotland. They are bulk- 
ipped and bottled here, often using municipal water. 

The makers of Cutty Sark, however, Remain adamant 
! the subject of Scottish Scotch. 

To this day, Cutty SaRk is distilled, blended, and 
jttled in Scotland, using the water of Loch Katrine, 
'lis results in a Scots Whisky of uncomMon smoothness 
Vich is worth every penny you pay for it. 
; To recognise genuine Scots Whisky, you need look 
li fuRther thaw the very Top of the label on a bottle of 
ltty Sark. 

It spells out exactly what you're gening right there 




CUSTOMER INFORMATION FROM GENERAL MOTOR 



HOW WEIGHT AFFECTS GAS MILEAGE 

THE SAVINGS CAN BE DOUBLED IF WEIGHT IS REMOVED IN THE DESIGN STAGE. 


A designer can reduce the 
exterior dimensions of a car 
by a few inches and turn it 
into a major improvement in 
gas mileage. That's because 
smaller is usually lighter, and 
a lighter car doesn't need as 
much gasoline to go a given 
distance as a heavier one. 

It's really a process of 
multiplication, and it works 
like this: once the exterior 
dimensions are trimmed, the 
bumpers won't have to be 
quite as big, the frame won't 
have to be quite as long, and 
so on. This saves weight, and 
the savings begin to multiply. 
Wheels, axles, as well as 
other components, can often 
be smaller. 

We used the multiplier 
effect when we designed our 
current 1978 midsize cars. To 
illustrate how this works: if 
you were to take 100 pounds 
of golf clubs out of your 
trunk, you might, depending 
on the car, save about five 
gallons of gas in 10,000 miles. 


But if you take the same 100 
pounds out of a car in the 
design stage, you won't need 
as large an engine, transmis- 
sion, and other components 
to get good performance. So 
you can make components 
smaller and more than dou- 
ble the gas savings. That's 
what we try to do. 

In redesigning our cars to 
take advantage of this effect, 
we made extended use of 
lighter, highly durable mate- 
rials such as aluminum and 
plastic, adding up to an 
average weight-saving of 685 
pounds. As a rule of thumb, 
this could save on the 
average about 75 gallons of 
gas in an ordinary year of 
driving (10,000 miles). 

But weight isn't the only 
thing that affects mileage. 
Tire inflation pressures are 
important, so are lubricants. 
And an engine has to be 
properly maintained: one 
defective spark plug can 
knock down mileage by as 
much as ten percent. And 
remember, keep a light foot 
on the gas pedal; the way you 
drive may still be the most 
important thing of all. 

So far, in our new resized 
cars, we've been able to 
reduce weight while still 
meeting all the safety stan- 
dards. In these new cars more 


corrosion-resistant materials 1 
are used. Routine mainte-l 
nance schedules have been 1 
stretched out, and the need f 
for certain kinds of mainte-f 
nance has been eliminated a 
entirely. We've done this, in i 
our opinion, with no sacrifice | 
in passenger comfort or use- i 
able space in the trunk. 

Most important is the 
simple fact that saving 1 
weight saves gasoline. 

Our goal is to build cars 
that are more and more em- 1 
cient, to design them to meet 
our customers' needs, and to 
sell them at prices the av- 
erage American can afford. 
That's the only way we can 
succeed in our competitive 
business. 


This advertisement is part of 
our continuing effort to give cus- 
tomer useful information about 
their cars and trucks and the 
company that builds them. 

General Motors 

People building transportation 
to serve people 



WALKING 
JN THE WALL 




W ithout giving up anything on the plane 
of justice, yield nothing on the plane of 
freedom. — Albert Camus 

wake UP. Susie's standing by the 
closet, fully dressed, folding and 
shelving our clothes. 

I shut my eyes and try to remem- 
ber a dream. It had to do with our 
arrival yesterday, that much I know. 
Genosse Lehmann was one of the 
characters. It was a story that I was 
hearing and seeing enacted at the 
same time. Part of it took place in 
the customs building. That's where 
the story came in — Genosse Leh- 
mann found it in one of the bags, 
ie started reading it out loud with a sarcastic 
>ne of voice. It described a little boy stand- 
lg on top of a wall with shards of bottle glass 
mbedded in it. On either side of the wall was 
view of a city: buildings, streets, and walls, 
o people. Two cities, actually, indistinguish- 
bly barren and stony, but clearly separate, 
■ne on either side of the wall. Looking ahead 
long the narrow and slightly curving path 
•rovided by the top of the wall, I saw a charm- 
tig house, with huge cabbage leaves in place 
>f balconies, surrounded by lush, broad oaks, 
started walking toward it. The glass shards 
rere no obstacle. A large gray tomcat ap- 
iroached from the opposite direction, tread- 
ng cautiously. The tip of its tail was nicked 
if. Scars on its face, too, signs of old battles, 
hit it was purring. Genosse Lehmann became 
ery alarmed at this point and hurried to a 
ay phone that stood to the right of the wall, 
picked up the cat and turned it around, so 
bat now we were walking in the same direc- 
ion, the cat a few steps before me, toward the 
louse with the cabbage leaves and the trees. I 
ad to laugh, because all this was part of the 
tory Genosse Lehmann was reading — includ- 
tig his own frantic dialing of the telephone. 



What do you know, a political dream. You've 
barely set foot in this place and it starts get- 
ting to you. The two cities are obviously East 
and West. But the wall isn't the Berlin Wall, 
it's the old brick wall that surrounded our gar- 
den in Cuernavaca when I was six. 

But there was more in that dream; some- 
thing to do with music and poetry. Damn, now 
it's gone. 

I open my eyes again, and look up at Susie. 
"What time is it?" 

She looks at her watch. "One-thirty." 

P.M., I presume. Feels like midnight. 

My eyes meet with a large sticker pasted 
onto the valise she's unpacking, the one we 
borrowed before leaving New York. It says: 

CBS NEWS 
URGENT 
HOLD AT AIRPORT 

From To 



I point it out to her. 

"How strange," she says. "I never noticed 
that." Neither did I, neither did anyone at the 
customs office. It's almost unbelievable. She 
peels off the sign and throws the pieces in the 
wastebasket, and I'm wondering whether we 
shouldn't dispose of them more thoroughly. 
Burn them? Then I'm reminded of the day the 
FBI (who probably thought it wise to keep an 
eye on someone who had grown up and no 
doubt been indoctrinated in East Germany) 
questioned me about some papers I had burned 
months previously over a gas stove in my 
apartment in New York on West Eighty-sixth 
Street. That must have been in 1962. They 
didn't believe that these had been journals, 
poems, drafts for a novel. "Why would you 
burn them and not throw them in a trashcan?" 
"Because I didn't want anyone to read them." 
"Why wouldn't you just keep them locked 
away?" "Because I wanted to get rid of them." 
"Why? Why would you throw away your pri- 
vate journals?" "It was a substitute for sui- 
cide. A kind of ritual. It made me feel clean." 



. . . wherein 
the author wakes 
up in an East 
Berlin hotel and, 
prompted by a 
dream, reviews 
the previous 
day's events 
in search of 
a story 

by Joel Agee 



Joel Agee is at work 
on a reminiscence of 
his boyhood in East 
Germany. 



61 



Joel Agee "You must have burned a lot of papers — your 
\Y~ A T 7Tvp aat landlady said the whole building was full of 
\\ ALK1AG- UA smoke/' "Yes. I was rather clumsy about it.'" 
THE WALL They didn't believe me. Now. why should their 
East German counterparts be any more cred- 
ulous or rational? All signs point to the con- 
trary. 

"What shall we do today — visit Helga?" 
Susie asks. 
"Yes, let's." 

If she's home. Strange that I couldn't reach 
anyone on the phone last night — and the con- 
stant clicking on the line. The operator 
couldn't help me either. But a radio near her 
informed me of something interesting: listen- 
ing to rock 'n' roll is no longer regarded as 
collaboration with the enemy; nor is chewing 
gum (assuming that I interpreted correctly the 
repetitive smatching sound in my ear while the 
woman searched the pages of the telephone 
book). Later, lying awake in the dark, after 
Susie had fallen asleep, I heard the telephone 
whispering a faint tinkling sound — just the 
shadow of an outright ring — and the re- 
ceiver vibrated, reminding me of my dogs in 
New York, who dream vividly and audibly, 
and reminding me also of the possibility that 
we were under surveillance. (Just a routine 
check, sir, we like to keep tabs on our guests. ) 




hat dream . . . maybe it 
was saying there's a story 
in what happened yester- 
day. Otherwise why was it 
read from a book? Our 
weird reception by Genosse 
Lehmann. especially, would 
make a good scene, if not 
a story. Just as it was. Chris- 
tiania, too. Maybe the cab- 
bage house had something 
to do with Christiania. The 
way it stood midway and 



beyond and a little above the two cities right 
and left ... I like that. 

"Susie, are you anxious to get moving?" 

"Not especially — I'd like to write a letter." 

"Oh, good. There's something I want to 
think about." 

Christiania. That was on the plane, on the 
way to Copenhagen, some twelve hours before 
we got to Berlin. I was looking at a picture 
on the front page of the New York Times: 
Fidel and Raul Castro presiding over the ded- 
ication of a military academy in Havana. 
Raul, whom I'd seen playing baseball with 
boyish enthusiasm in 1964, looked as if he'd 
been swallowed alive by his persona: the uni- 
form, cap, moustache, epaulettes, cornery 



elbows, and stiff stance all added up to an | 
mistakable cliche: military boss of Caribbei 
banana republic. Maybe it was just the phc» 
graph. Fidel, as always, seemed unpreoccup.) 
with his appearance: in fact, rather abse 
and touchingly human. He looked worried^ 

There was a headline on the lower left si 
of the page: Detroit class bears scars 
teacher's slaying. I put away the paper a 
looked out the window. The clouds look 
like erotic figures molded out of snow. Th 
Susie handed me Skanorama, the airline m< 
azine. "Did you see this?" I hadn't. She w 
showing me an article titled "Christiania: C 
penhagen's and the World's Only Free City 
There were color photographs of women, ch 
dren, animals, brilliantly painted walls. If 
was to believe the article, this was indeed 
free city, sprung up in the heart of unfree ( 
penhagen, a city without laws, without polic 
without criminals, without a mayor, witho 
bosses, and without "communal" tyranny < 
ther. "A ragbag army." the article said, " 
political activists, artists, and youths on tl 
dole" had occupied an abandoned army ba 
racks, some 150 buildings in all. situated c 
"more than 50 acres of prime real estate," ai 
converted it into an autonomous economic an 
social unit "where the imagination rules." Oi 
thousand people, nine goats, two cows, tw 
hundred twenty dogs, some swans ... I su 
denly felt elated. I always knew Haight-Asl 
bury would resurrect somewhere — and th 
place had lasted longer than just a summei 
it was several years old. And we'd be able t 
visit there the next day. since we'd have a sij 
hour waiting period in Copenhagen! 

Somehow Susie seemed less thirsty for th 
Arcadian springs than I was. "I bet it's nt 
all so free and loving there," she said. I said 
"WV11 see." 



Who is Genosse Lehmann 



H1Y THE TIME We got to C( 
penhagen, Susie's indiffe: 
ence to the idea of a vis 
to Christiania had becom 
reluctance, and eventual] 
toughened into a staunc 
refusal: a veto, no less. Sh 
felt too exhausted to rus 
there, look around briefly 
and rush back, which 
what we would have had t 
do. We took a bus to th 
center of town. There, in 
chrome-and-plastic self-service cafe, far fro] 
Christiania, drinking Coke and eating col 



62 



ts drenched in mayonnaise on soggy slices 
white bread, we were feeling displaced and 
If-conscious, but in an unaccountably famil- 
r way. We searched for the source of this 
miliarity. and after a while discovered it: it 
ts that we were so tired we were not aware 
our surroundings except for a blur of 
unds and colors: and this, added to the fact 
at Susie's brand-new permanent was prov- 
g to be a disaster, produced a sensation of 
ving stayed up all night for no very enjoy- 
le reason and finally finding ourselves 
ished up somewhere on Long Island at five 
the morning. 

As soon as we looked more closely, of 
mrse. the difference was evident: everyone 
ere. except for three whispering Indonesian 
>uths in patent-leather jackets, was marked by 
tat ubiquitous Danish '"look" Susie observed 
hen we were walking in the street: small 
tin straight noses, fair hair, pink cheeks, blue 
/es. and a frank, unhurried but businesslike 
j, straightforward without being aggressive, 
ot cold, nor particularly friendly. A group of 
instruction workers gravely chomping on 
indwiehes they'd brought along in tin con- 
I liners, washing the food down with Cokes; 
| vo giggling high-school girls with flaxen 
i raids and lips so red they looked painted: a 
oung man with pragmatic features framed 
y a pageboy haircut — I imagined people like 
lem thirty-five years ago, all wearing yellow 
tars, to protect the Jews from the Germans, 
'he king, too, wore a yellow star. Hans Chris- 
ian Andersen could have imagined it. 

I looked out the window: the wind was 
whirling snow in all directions, but it melted 
>n the ground. 

I had an image of Christiania, partly my 
>wn invention, partly derived from that article 
n Skanorama. On a nasty day like this, the 
streets would be empty, and whoever wasn't at 
lome or working would go to a large brightly 
Dainted room to talk, to make music, play 
:hess, drink hot cider, paint, read, sit silently 
gazing into an open fireplace. We'd come in, 
people would smile and move up to make room 
for us to sit and ask us about ourselves. "New 
Fork? East Berlin? Why on earth would you 
want to take a trip like that? From hell to 
purgatory, or is it the other way around? 
Zome and live with us. Your dogs? Why. 
bring them too; you must. We only have two 
lundred and twenty." 

We walked to the bus stop, with our collars 
:urned up. I felt hollowed out by lack of sleep. 
\mong banks and stores and elegant res- 
:aurants, a large advertisement for a movie 
showed a young woman masturbating and 
smiling at the street. 



'm almost certain now that the 
house with the cabbage-leaf balco- 
nies had to do with Christiania. I 

■ think some of the dream took place 
in that house. Strange, what a pull 
it has even now — almost a long- 
ing .. . 

gtej Now, where does Genosse Leh- 
mann come into the story? 

Somehow I have the feeling 
ij^H Christiania plus Genosse Lehmann 
^^^^L won't add up to much more than 

juxtaposition ... a shaky one at 
that, since Christiania's almost weightless and 
Genosse Lehmann's mostly metal and stone. 
I wonder what that cat was about. 
"Joel?" 
"Yes?" 

hat did that American at the airport say 
he was here for?" 

"Business. That's all he said." 
"Oh." 

"You're writing home about him?" 

"Lh-huh. I thought he was funny." 

He was standing in line before us, a beard- 
ed, gray-faced man with an American passport 
in his hand. Hearing us speak English, he 
looked at us with a pained and worried expres- 
sion and shook his head. 

"Imagine if the plane had been full," he 
said. "We'd be standing here for hours." 

"There's a second booth," I replied. "They'd 
probably be checking people out there, too." 

"They wouldn't. Believe me, they're not 
concerned about the inconvenience to us. They 
save manpower this way." 

"Have you been here before?" 

"No, but I've been in Russia." 

A quarrel broke out at the head of the line. 
One of the travelers, a German, started making 
angry, slightly petulant sounds. A document 
he was being asked to present should have 
been delivered to the airport by some govern- 
ment agency or other; it wasn't his responsibil- 
ity. The voice coming from inside the booth 
kept echoing back to him an unvarying echo 
of refusal, redundant as surf, immutable as a 
mountain cliff, dispassionate, animated only 
by the constancy of paragraphs. Finally a com- 
promise was reached. The voice inside the 
booth was talking into a phone. The inaudible 
voice on the other end judged in the trav- 
eler's favor. He received a stamp in his pass- 
port and moved on to the baggage check. 
The queue inched forward. 

"It's not as bad a place as you might think," 
I said to the American. Suspicion gleamed in 
his eyes. 

"How do you know?" 

"I used to live here." 



4 'Why on earth 
would you 
want to take a 
trip like that? 
From hell to 
purgatory, or 
is it the other 
way around?' " 



63 



Joel Agee 



WALKING ON 
THE WALL 



"But you're American, aren't you?" 

"Yes." 

"So what are you . . . tourists?" 

"Well, visitors. We're visiting friends." 

He nodded, and pondered for a moment. 
Then he leaned toward me. "If you had a 
choice," he said, tapping my chest with his 
passport, "where would you rather live, here 
or in the free world?" 

"Frankly, I don't like the alternatives." 

The line moved forward. 

"Doesn't it break your heart, visiting friends 
here?" 

"No. Why should it?" 

"This whole country's a prison." 

"Well . . . it's better run than most, I'd say." 

"What do you mean?" 

"They don't have any crime to speak of . . . 
no slums . . . full employment . . ." 

"If you want to call forced labor employ- 
ment." 

"Most labor's forced labor, isn't it?" 

"Not in a free country it isn't." 

Oh, come on now, I thought to myself. But 
it wasn't a point worth arguing, certainly not 
at that time and place. I shrugged. 

"You do prefer freedom to slavery, don't 
you?" he asked, tapping me with his passport. 

"Of course." 

"Well, there you have it." 

"I see." 

He chuckled. 

"Tell me," I said. "Why are you here?" 

"I'm here on business." 

Another argument broke out before the 
booth, this time in English. A woman whom 
I remembered seeing in the waiting room at 
JFK Airport was asking to spend a night in 
East Berlin. "You don't have a voucher," said 
the voice inside the booth. "You must go to 
West Berlin." 

"I would like to go there tomorrow. I'm 
exhausted. I would like just to go to the near- 
est hotel and get some sleep." 

"You cannot stay without a voucher. You 
must go to West Berlin." 

The woman was stubborn. The voice called 
for help. "Genosse Lehmann, would you please 
take care of this woman?" 

Genosse Lehmann was a guard with a dis- 
agreeably private smile and the kind of squat 
broad figure that seems made to block en- 
trances. It was he who had ordered us all, 
one by one — not asked but ordered, with a 
kind of rude dispatch, like a farmer corralling 
a herd of nervous and clumsy cattle — -to fill 
out a detailed questionnaire in duplicate and 
line up, single file, before the booth marked 
"Passport Control." Now he lumbered up to 
the woman and pointed at a row of chairs. 



"Sit down over there. You are holding ■ 
the line." 

The woman complied. 

Segment by segment, that worm compoaji 
of patient human beings crept toward til 
booth and through the door marked "Bagga^ 
Check." There was another door, I notice! 
with a sign saying "Sanitary- Inspection." 

"What's a voucher?" Susie asked. 

"I have no idea. I hope we don't need on^ 
whatever it is." 

"The travel agent would have known, donjj 
you think?" 

"I guess so." 

"I hope so." 

Finally our turn came. 

The voice inside the booth, it turned ou t 
had been issuing from a young man with du, 
eyes, thinning brown hair, and high Slav! 
cheekbones. 

"Passports," he said, in English. 

Passports, hand him the passports. 

"Voucher." 

"What?" 

"Your voucher." 

"Could you say that in German?" I as' 
him, in German. 

"Voucher, voucher!" 

"Show him the photocopy of the telegrai 
confirming the visas. Maybe that's what ht 
means." 

Fingers flying, Susie shuffles through ou 
papers, and produces the telegram. 

He takes a glance at it and hands it back. 

"Your voucher," he says. "Don't you have 
a voucher?" 

"I'm afraid I don't know what you mean, 
I say again in German. 

"Genosse Lehmann . . ." 

Then it dawned on me: "You mean the 
reservation? For a hotel?" 

"Yes, the voucher, the voucher!" 

Genosse Lehmann stepped into the booth, 
Together the two men inspected the voucher, 
and looked satisfied. Then the seated mar 
handed it back to me and put a small blue 
stamp in each of our passports. 

"You must now pay thirteen dollars," he 
said. 

"For what?" 

"For your visas." 

"Oh." 

I pulled out my wallet and counted out sev- 
en dollars. 

"Do you have any dollar bills on you. 

Susie?" 

"No, you have all the money." 

"I'll give you a ten-dollar traveler's check 
and three dollar bills," I said. "Is that all 
right?" 



(i enosse Lehmann brusquely shook his head. 
[| No traveler's checks, only dollars." 

But, -ir. I have only seven dollars. The 
V of my money is in traveler's checks." 
1 You must pay in dollars." 

Uiat to do? I looked at Susie, Susie looked 

| What about the Danish money?" she said. 
' That's right — we have some Danish mon- 
|| do you accept that?" 

Yes, of course, krone, dollar. West-mark, 

take it." 

counted out my Danish kroner. The seated 
■l computed them on a calculator. 
'Do you take coins?" I asked, 
ioth men shook their heads. 
'It's not enough," said the seated man. "We 
(1 another three dollar-.'" 
well, since I don't have these three dol- 
it seems to me you will have to accept 
reveler's check." 

Bis made Genosse Lehmann angry. "We 
l't have to do anything. You have to pay 
rteen dollars." 

'Susie, are you sure you don't have three 
lars on you?" 

She -hook her head. She seemed to be on 

verge of tears. 
I turned back to Genosse Lehmann and 
■Kged. He shrugged, too, mocking my ges- 
e. He looked amused. 
'"What shall we do?" I asked. 
"What we shall do," he said, "is, you will 
;e the next flight back to New York. Or Co- 
nhagen. if you prefer." 

\o German words came to me; I exploded 

English. "Are you kidding? You're go- 
5 to send us back for three dollars?" 

1 could hear Susie gasping next to me. 

"It won't cost you three dollars, it will cost 
u nothing. You already paid for your re- 
rn flight, no?" 

In a flash I imagined this being the upshot 
our vacation: no visits to the piny haunts 
my school-cutting days, to black-haired Ur- 
la, my childhood flame, to Guenther, master 
ief and lyrical hoodlum, to Peter Vogel, Au- 
lst. Helga, all the people I'd told Susie about, 
nd a thousand dollars down the drain. We 
»uld go to Christiania, of course. Susie's eyes 
sre filled with tears, and also with indigna- 
m, and she was about to vent all of it on 
enosse Lehmann and his colleagues. At this 
ucial moment, an inspiration, a gift from the 
use of bureaucracy, welled up like a silver 
lbble from the depths of my mind — a clear 
id infallible stratagem. 
"The letter, Susie, the notarized thing." 
"You've got it." 
"Where?" 



"In your hand, with the other papers." 

There it was. our precious onionskin trump 
card, a series of legalistic locutions followed 
by signatures, stamps, and a paper flag from 
the county clerk of Manhattan. Its contents 
established my right to make use of moneys 
accrued to my mother as royalties from the 
novels of Bodo Uhse — her deceased husband, 
my stepfather, and Genosse Lehmann's supe- 
rior, thanks to the socialist custom of making 
national heroes of famous (and preferably 
dead ) writers. 

"Please read this." I said, slapping the pa- 
per down on the counter, "and take note of 
this name" — and I tapped the name of Bodo 
Uhse three times with my index finger, in ex- 
actly the same manner, I noticed, with which 
Bodo used to draw my attention to a faulty 
chess move, or to a mistake in my homework. 

Genosse Lehmann read, and as he read, his 
carriage collapsed slightly; and then his hand 
went up to scratch behind his ear; and then 
he took a deep breath, held the air, and let it 
blow out of his nose with a hissing sound. 

"Moment mal," he said, lifted up the re- 
ceiver, dialed, turned his back on me, and 
mumbled into the phone. Then he hung up, 
scratched behind his ear again, and said: 
"Maybe something can be done. We will see." 

He stepped out of the booth and said, with 
some of his authority regained, and in Eng- 
lish: "Mister, you come with me. Mrs., you 
stay here." 

I followed him through the swinging door. 
Our gray-faced American friend was just pack- 
ing up his bags beneath the gaze of a man and 
a woman in blue uniforms. He still had a 
pained look on his face. We greeted one an- 
other in passing. Genosse Lehmann led me 
through another swinging door into a large 
hall. My heart made a little leap of delighted 
recognition — not of the place itself, which I'd 
never seen before, but of the textures of brown 
brick lit up by malfunctioning neon, the por- 
traits of politicians in slim wooden frames, 
staring down from above the windows of ticket 
counters, the unmistakable sound of working- 
class Berlin in an offhand comment tossed out 
by one porter passing another on an electrical 
lorry laden with baggage. We stepped up to 
a window beneath a sign that read: "Cambio- 
Geldwechsel-Change-OBMEH HEHEr." 

"Could you change some traveler's checks 
for this man?" asked Genosse Lehmann. 

"Of course," the woman behind the ticket 
counter said, and gave me a friendly smile. 

I signed a twenty-dollar check and handed 
it to her. 

"In what currency do you want it?" she 
asked. 



'Susie's eyes 
were filled with 
tears, and also 
with indigna- 
tion, and she 
was about to 
vent all of it 
on Genosse 
Lehmann and 
his colleagues." 



65 



Joel Agee 



WALKING ON 
THE WALL 



"Dollars," said Genosse Lehmann. 

"Make that thirteen dollars," I said, "the 
rest in marks." 

She filled out a receipt form with various 
data including my passport number, and 
stamped and signed it, and handed it to me. 

"You mustn't lose it," she said. 

Then she counted out thirteen dollars and 
several East German bills and some coins, and 
pushed the money toward me with a smile. 

"Where there's a will there's a way," said 
Genosse Lehmann. 

On the way back, Genosse Lehmann said: 
"You speak quite good German." 

"Thank you. It's really no wonder, I lived 
here for twelve years." 

"Is that so? When did you leave? If I may 
ask." 

"Seventeen years ago, almost to the day." 
"Ach so." 

I couldn't help imagining his thoughts as 
he walked next to me, clomping the floor with 
his boots: Just in the nick of time he gets out, 
the Wall went up in August . . . Bodo Uhse, 
good connections, probably left by arrange- 
ment with the government . . . now he comes 
back an American . . . son of a bitch . . . 

"Since you know both sides now," he said, 
and stopped before the swinging door leading 
to the baggage inspection, "may I ask you a 
question? Just between the two of us." 

"Certainly." 

"Which is better? In your opinion. The 
East or the West?" 

"I can only talk about two countries," I 
said. "But this is the way I see it: The GDR 
is more just than the USA, and the L T SA is 
more free than the GDR.'" Not free enough, 
I thought. Not just enough either. 

"So each has its advantages," he said. 

That's one way to put it, I thought — but 
what I said was, "Yes." It occurred to me that 
maybe freedom and justice can't function ade- 
quately in divorcement from one another. It 
didn't seem advisable to say that out loud ei- 
ther. I think, by the way, that Genosse Leh- 
mann knew I was hedging, because for a mo- 
ment his look of almost humble politeness gave 
way to a sly flicker of amusement. Just for a 
moment, though. Then he nodded, as though he 
were giving deep thought to my reply, and 
pushed open the door for me. The officials of 
the baggage inspection eyed me curiously as 
we walked past. Genosse Lehmann pushed and 
held open the second door. There was Susie, 
sitting on a bench, looking tired and worried. 
"It's all right," I said. "Thank God," she said. 
Genosse Lehmann stepped back into the booth. 
I handed him the thirteen dollars, he counted 
them and put them into a drawer. 



"Since you've lived here for twelve ye 
he said then, "I'm sure you understand 
way things are done here." 

"Of course," I said. Bastard. 

He nodded, satisfied. "Passports, pleai 

The seated man thumped a large stamp) 
an ink pad and carefully impressed it in e 
passport. It took up an entire page. 

"Such pretty passports," said Genosse I 
mann. "It's a pity our stamps are so big. 

I shrugged and half smiled, expressing 
dain and pretending amusement at the s£ 
time. The seated man wrote something 
our passports and handed them back. 

"That's it?" 

"Luggage inspection is next," said Gene 
Lehmann. with just a trace of sarcasm in 
smile. 



Clues among the cro 



I 
i 



t doesn't really make a story 
doesn't hang together: Christia) 
on one side, Genosse Lehmann j 
the other. Christiania just disii 
pears. The American doesn't real 
help connect the two. 
Well, time to get up. 
I sit up and stretch. Susie's a 
ting at the table writing. Jesus, I 
still sleepy. Someone's practicl 
bugle calls on a trumpet outside.' 
notice Skanorama lying on my nig 
table. That reminds me . . . Chris 
ania did pop up again, at the baggage contrc 
"Open your bags, please." We did. "Do y< 
have anything to declare?"' "I don't think so 
"Any weapons?" We laughed, but they didn 
"Any printed matter?" Before I'd answere 
the man had picked up Pablo Neruda's aut 
biography, and was leafing through it thougl 
fully. Of course I didn't say it, but I imagin< 
saying to him: "It's an unimpeachably ne 
Stalinist work." The woman picked up Thom 
Merton's Secular Journal, examined the tit! 
and began a slow study of its pages. My hea 
thumped as I remembered a brief anti-Coi 
munist passage in the preface. The man p 
down Neruda and examined the cover of Ha 
nah Arendt's On Violence, moving his lips 
he spelled the title out to himself. Then tl 
woman discovered Skanorama, and the sig 
of it drew the man's attention away from Ha 
nah Arendt. A corpus delicti? They held the 
heads together as she slowly leafed throuj 
the magazine. She shook her head and look< 
at Susie and then at me, uncertain which 
us to hold responsible, and then addressed tl 
magazine: "We don't let magazines throug 



66 



rmally," she said. I found her earnestness 
nost touching. •That's all right." I said. "I 
s interested in one of the articles in there, 
t it's not important." She turned a page and 
s looking at the article now; I could see 
e of the photographs upside down, of a wall 
th flowers painted on it and a child's di- 
jveled blond head, and part of the -title: 
.Worl.l'-Onlv Free City." The man had put 
ide On Violence and, carefully searching in 
e of our bags, discovered another copy of 
anorama. "Oh," Susie said, "I'm sorry. I 
In't know ... I didn't realize my husband 
ak one. too." and for a moment I noticed my- 
If making a face and a gesture like Charlie 
laplin when the stolen silverware comes slid- 
g out of his trousers. "You can keep them," 
viid. "We really don't need them." The man 
ade a God-forbid gesture with his free hand 
d said, "We don't want them." He closed 
s copy of the magazine, placed it on top of 
e three books, and put his palm on top of 
e magazine. "Is this all for your own use?" 
asked. "Yes, certainly." The woman, divin- 
g the judgment her colleague was about to 
ake. was already transporting the second 
>j>\ of Skanorama through the air toward 
te pile beneath his hand, and she was doing 
with such evident moral self-scrutiny that 
felt an automatic reflex of guilt and grat- 
ude, as if she were letting me get away with 
>mething essentially culpable. The man raised 
is hand to make room for the magazine, then 
ut his palm back on the pile and directed his 
:ern gaze into my eyes: "You may keep all 
f these," he said. "But you must take them 
ack out of the country with you." 
"I will." It came out like a vow. 
The woman appeared satisfied and gave me 
look of sober approval. We packed up, try- 
Qg not to arouse the inspectors' suspicion by 
howing too-obvious signs of relief. 



T still doesn't close properly. 

Maybe if I included the poster I 
saw in the shop window on the way 
over here: a photograph of a huge 
public square on a sunlit summer 
day, flags flying, hundreds of peo- 
ple swarming about: underneath 
was a quotation from Faust's dying 
words, his vision of the consum- 
mate moment for whose sake he 
would abdicate his striving and em- 
brace eternity: 



Solch ein Gewimmel mbcht ich sehn, 

Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn! 

[At such a throng I would fain stare, 




With free men on free ground their 
freedom share!] 

It made me so angry. I asked myself if I 
would care this much if I'd never lived in this 
country. I imagined a similar picture of peo- 
ple milling about in Times Square, and see- 
ing it displayed in Grand Central Station, with 
an inscription by Walt Whitman, say, instead 
of an advertisement for Kodak. And the words 
would have to celebrate our unlimited enjoy- 
ment of justice, of equal opportunity, of equal- 
ity under the law ... I'd probably be just as 
angry. 

It gets stuck in politics, that's what's wrong 
with it. It gets wrapped up in flags. 

If there were some way of walking on the 
Wall I which feels different from sitting on the 
fence, come to think of it l — West and East 
on either side and below me . . . 

I wonder what that cat was about . . . 

I'm running dry . . . time to get up. 

I go into the bathroom to wash. Something's 
wrong with my beard. Bent in the middle, like 
a greeting card. I try plastering it down with 
water. It doesn't help. 

"I look like Hammurabi," I say. 

"What do you mean?" 

I step out to show her, and she laughs. 

"I'm sorry, I'll try not to laugh," she says, 
and bursts out laughing again. 

"Look at me," she says then. "I don't look 
any better." 

Yes, I've already noticed. Her permanent — 
what was intended to be a Versailles-like beau- 
ty-bush of fine curls clipped to geometric per- 
fection is starting to look like a badly potted 
and lovelessly watered bunch of weeds, all 
hopeful stems and drooping peduncles. 

"I've got the permanent." I say. 

I'm getting dressed while she finishes writ- 
ing her letter. Then she goes into the bath- 
room to wet and dry her hair: it'll perk it up, 
she says; and I turn on the radio to a ballad 
—sung robustly by a man who makes his r's 
roll like ball bearings happily rotating in grease 
— about a fellow* who had his legs replaced 
by prostheses with springy knee joints that 
prove irresistibly attractive to women. The 
dial band would have one believe that West- 
ern Europe emits no radio waves. But I know 
this can't be Radio Bucharest. It must be 
RIAS, the West Berlin station. I turn the dial. 
Just a half of a megahertz away, some Sax- 
onian's being interviewed; there's talk of 
percentages, plan fulfillment, the meeting of 
objectives, friendly competition, peaceful con- 
struction work; and the only question remain- 
ing (the answer to which I can't imagine 
anyone wanting to know) is what section of 



' . . . for a mo- 
ment I noticed 
myself making 
a face and a 
gesture like 
Charlie 
Chaplin when 
the stolen 
silverware 
comes sliding 
out of his 
trousers." 



67 



WALKING ON 
THE WALL 



Joel Agee industry is under discussion. I turn the dial 
to the next station: some children are sing- 
ing a pleasantly polyphonic Russian song in 
German, about a group of people — loosely 
designated as "we" — walking against the wind 
toward a red dawn that promises a beautiful 
day. Next: an American disc jockey nattering 
away in disc jockey language, almost incom- 
prehensible, and serving up some bad rock 'n' 
roll — this must be the American Forces Net- 
work in Frankfurt. Immediately to the left of 
that, the news is being read by a woman, all 
of whose resources seem to be harnessed to 
the task of impeccable enunciation: "The 
chairman of the Politburo of the Communist 
Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Repub- 
lics, Leonid I. Brezhnev, declared yesterday 
at a meeting with leading representatives of 
the Komsomol, the Soviet youth organization, 
that the continuing struggle. ..." And next 
to that: the concluding flourish of a lecture 
for students of political science, something 
about great achievements and the impor- 
tance of maintaining a clear understanding 
of the theoretical foundations and the his- 
torical evolution of Socialism-as-it-exists-to- 
day-in-our- first-German-workers- and -peasants- 
State. 

Susie comes out of the bathroom. Her hair 
looks much better. 

"Thank you, Professor Finger," says a 
young woman's voice, "for the light you have 
shed on the history of the workers' move- 
ment." 

"It looks good," I say. 

Susie makes a face. "I want to have it re- 
done as soon as possible," she says. 

"May I ask you a few questions that may 
serve to further elucidate certain problems for 
our listeners?" 
"Of course." 

"What is, in essence, the Marxist critique 
of the Utopian Socialists?" 
"Shall we go?" Susie asks. 
"Wait, I want to hear what he says." 
"The Utopian Socialists," Professor Finger 
explains, "saw the working class primarily as 
the suffering class, the miserable, unfortunate, 
exploited, and downtrodden masses, whose lot 
could be improved only by the philanthropic 
effort of an enlightened bourgeoisie. They 
could not see in the workers a revolutionary 
class, the repository, in fact, of an invincible 
power and a forcing logic, namely the power 
and the logic of historical transformation. Fur- 
thermore, the idea of building Communist is- 
lands in a capitalist sea, as Marx put it, is in- 
herently Utopian and unrealistic. But perhaps 
the best argument against these well-inten- 
tioned, sometimes noble and beautiful experi- 



ments is provided by their invariable failus 
to survive the test of practical reality." 

I switch off the radio. "Let's go," I sa 
We step out and lock the room. A woman 
vacuuming the rug in the hallway; she smil 
at us as we pass, and Susie tries her first Ge 
man phrase, "Guten Tag." We stop before tl 
elevator, press the button, and wait. Tw 
doughty Russian-speaking women join us. 

"What was that program about?" Sus: 
asks. 

"It was about how you can't build Commi 
nists islands in a capitalist sea," I say, feel 
ing self-conscious before the Russian womer 
who stand stiffened by suppressed curiosit 
at the sound of our speech. 

"Like Christiania?'* Susie says, smiling. 

"I guess so," I say, suddenly feeling irritat 
ed — with the women for being nosy, with Si 
sie for not noticing it and for expecting 
to smile about Christiania, with myself for no 
wanting to smile, and with Professor Fingei 
for expounding so cogently on the impracti 
cability of Utopia. Susie looks hurt by my sud 
den coldness. The elevator door opens, we al 
step in and descend. Susie exchanges a smile 
with one of the women. The door opens, we 
step out into the lobby and wend our way 
through a crowd of smartly dressed people 
who are milling back and forth between the 
elevators and a lounge, consisting of a bar and 
several tables, couches and armchairs, where 
people sit smoking, talking, and drinking. 
Some of these people, as soon as they notice 
me (or is it Susie?!, stop what they are do- 
ing and saying, and stare incredulously; then 
their companions look, too, heads and torsos 
pivoting to catch sight of the mirage before 
it fades. I turn away, embarrassed, and hear 
laughter. We're standing in line before the re- 
ception desk, watching two women in starched 
white blouses attend to their clients and sev- 
eral ledgers, until our turn comes. I hand over 
the key and ask for our passports. The wom- 
an bends down to search on a shelf beneath 
the counter, and comes up again with the 
passports and a sheet of paper, which she is 
reading. She frowns. Then she opens the pass- 
ports, inspects them, and shakes her head. 

"What's wrong?" I ask. 

"The police say they can't give you a res- 
idence permit because your voucher expires 
tonight." 

"But we already got a visa, it won't expire 
till March 10." 

"No, you need a residence permit in addi- 
tion to your visa." 

"Well, the reason we've only paid up 
through tonight is because we're planning to 
stay with a friend. Unfortunately, we haven't 



68 



i able to reach her yet; her phone's out 
rder." 

[ see. Perhaps it's best if you go to the 
el bureau and settle it with them. They 
i early on Saturday — you'd better hurry. 
you know how to get there?" 
Nfo." 

Turn right when you get out of this build- 
keep going till you reach Alexanderplatz 
's not far. It'll be on your right side, 
re's a big sign: Reisebiiro." 
Thank you." 

You're welcome. Good luck." 
Come," I say, turning Susie by her elbow. 
;'ve got to go fix something on our pass- 
is." 

What? Where?" 
Oh, some goddamned stamp." 
7e jostle our way through to the exit. I 
't believe the number of people in this lob- 
And everyone dressed to kill. And the 
cs we're getting! I haven't been the object 
his sort of astonished, half-amused, half- 
jlted fascination since the mid-Sixties, 
•n beards and long hair were widely re- 
ded as flags of anarchy. Or is it Susie 
f're looking at? No, she looks good with 
Afro-like curls and large earrings, even 
lionable, I'd say. Is it the bend in my 
rd? Is it that I have my hair tied back in 
ony tail? If I let it hang loose, would they 
I it less weird? I doubt it. We pass by the 
trait of a smiling, bespectacled man with 
ry brown hair and shrewd, humorous blue 
s. Must be their current head of state. 
We're out on the street. 
'Where are we going?" Susie asks. 
'To the travel bureau." 
'Will you please tell me what's going on?" 
'I told you, we're going to the travel bu- 
u to fix up some nonsense so we can get a 
idence permit from the police." 
'You didn't tell me that." 
'Well, I'm telling you now." 
'What do we have to fix? Come on, I don't 
nt to just tag along like a fool!" 
She's stopped walking, and so have a young 
jple about fifteen feet away, and several 
aple across the street have turned their 
ads in our direction, too. 
"Susie, will you please stop yelling. Now 
>t keep walking and we can discuss it." 
She starts walking again, but her voice is 
11 raised to an angry pitch: "Are you going 
tell me, or what?" 

"Susie, listen — I'll tell you everything. I 
In't want to go into it because I didn't think 
mattered to you, since I'm going to be the 
e who deals with it anyway. But I under- 
ind why you're upset, I really do. Just please 



don't make a scene here in the middle of the 
street, I'm self-conscious enough as it is." 

It's that there's almost no traffic, I realize: 
you could hear a pin drop across the street. 

"Frankly," she says (more quietly now), 
"I don't give a damn what people think about 
us. I'd rather have things out in the open than 
walk around with a stiff upper lip. Or a phony 
smile." 

A smile flashes back and forth between us. 
"People are staring," she says then. 
"Not just when we were fighting," I say. 
"I know." 

"How do you feel about it?" 
"I can't stand it." 

"Oh. Then we're in agreement after all." 
"Except you haven't told me what's hap- 
pening." 

"I haven't?" 

I get a little punch in the ribs. "Not every- 
thing." 

As we walk on, I fill in missing details. 
"Thanks," she says. "I needed to know 
that." 

I expel a long breath of relief. 

Now we're free to see what's around us. 
Susie's eye is livelier than mine, unclouded 
by memory — or prejudice. She points out the 
sights to me. She likes the looks of Karl-Marx- 
Allee's Moscow-style architecture, for one, and 
I agree it's really more attractive than Lefrak 
City, to which I compared it before we left 
New York: more generously laid out, not 
cramped by someone's greed for maximum 
occupancy. And the people here exude an air 
of comfortable, contented prosperity. No one is 
rushing, everyone's wearing handsome, casual- 
ly stylish clothes: midi-length skirts and 
dresses, sleek leather boots, trimly tailored 
slacks and suits: plenty of denim, too, but 
neatly pressed, not just washed and worn as 
our jeans are. And we're continuing to draw 
those incredulous stares. 

"I think we look like bums to these peo- 
ple," I say. 

"What do you think they do for a living?" 
she asks. 

"I imagine they're bureaucrats, or workers 
high up in the party hierarchy. Unless every- 
one's dressed up like this on a Saturday after- 
noon. Look, there's a three-piece suit, watch 
chain and all. White poodles! High heels! Are 
you sure we're not still in New York? Upper 
East Side somewhere?" 

"I'm sure," she says. "Nobody's this re- 
laxed in New York." 

We stop before a shop window. Among 
men's and women's shoes, a poster shows a 
man and a woman in work clothes, facing the 
camera and smiling. The caption reads: Wir 



'I haven't been 
the object of 
this sort of 
astonished, 
half -amused, 
half-revolted 
fascination 
since the mid- 
Sixties, when 
beards and 
long hair were 
widely re- 
garded as flags 
of anarchy." 



69 



Joel Agee 



WALKING ON 
THE WALL 



iiber uns. The same poster is displayed in the 
next store. For a moment I'm nonplussed by 
the ambiguity of the word iiber: We over us? 
We above us. No, it's "We about ourselves." 
What does it mean? Who is this "we"? Just 
the old unipersonal everybody (or everyno- 
body it should be called), or is it a more 
specific group of people? Whoever "we" is, 
they must already be informed of the meaning 
of Wir iiber uns, since the poster gives no 
information. 

"What do you think it is?" Susie asks. 

"My guess is, employees of people-owned 
stores are having some kind of national re- 
union." 

"That sounds as if it could be nice." 

"Sounds boring to me." 

"But if they're really getting together to 
talk about themselves . . ." 

"But they're not. They're being drummed 
together by their bosses, and the bosses are 
being goaded by the Party, and there'll be 
speeches about the production, the great 
achievements, the problems remaining to be 
solved, some people will get medals, and peo- 
ple's real hopes and discontents won't be dis- 
cussed, not for a moment, and if anyone in- 
sists on discussing them, he'll be accused of 
being 'provocative.' Unless there's been some 
quiet revolution we haven't heard of." (Why 
do I care this much? I sound bitter.) 

"Still, it might be nice just to get together. 
I'm sure the people get to meet unofficially 
and talk." 

"Maybe . . . maybe there'll be cultural pro- 
grams, dances . . ." 
"A picnic?" 

"Maybe. Must be an awful lot of people. 
Hell, we don't even know if that's what it is." 

"What's she all about?" Susie's pointing at 
a poster of a young woman holding her head 
high with an expression of passionately stal- 
wart defiance. 

"She's announcing the International Wom- 
en's Day on March 8," I say, after reading the 
caption underneath. 

"She looks tense." 

And here's a supermarket — another innova- 
tion. Through the window, Susie takes stock. 
It doesn't compare with American supermar- 
kets — hardly any canned or packaged foods, 
and just less of everything. But I notice heaps 
of oranges, grapefruit, and bananas, and re- 
member how precious and rare they used to 
be — Siidfriichte. Jochen, our chauffeur, used 
to buy Siidfruchte for us in the West, smug- 
gling them across the border under the front 
seat of the car. Bodo. who was an exemplary 
citizen in most respects, valued his children's 
health above the law. 



Keats's 




ARL-MARX-ALLEE ends h 

and so does the Muscc 
flavor of the architect 
That vast asphalt circL 
our left with the needle 
tower pointing up from 
middle of it must be A 
anderplatz. I have onl 
cartographic memory o 
and there's nothing in 
surrounding, glister 
plate-glass facades to re 
fhat it used to be. Pi 
ably ruins, at least when I first came here. 
"Isn't that the sign?" Susie says. 
There it is: Reiseburo. I take out our I 
pers, prepared to show them to a sentry 
watchman, but no one asks us to identify 
selves. Twenty years ago, you couldn't ente 
public building without being asked for y 
papers. That may be one way the Wall p 
off. Maybe prosperity as well. 

This time I take care to clue Susie in 
the signs by which I orient myself: the groi 
floor, I explain, is a People's Police Regisl 
tion Place (Volkspolizeianmeldestelle)— 
have to walk up to the top floor, which 
Reiseburo shares with the People's Pol 
Passport and Visa Office and a money- 
change booth. 

We have to wait. Behind the Reisebiir 
counter, a slow-moving young woman w 
curly brown hair and a pleasant smile is s 
tling the affairs of a middle-aged West Gerrr 
couple. She walks back and forth between 1 
counter and a telephone in an adjoining roo 
What does it feel like, I wonder, being 
hostess to people from countries she hers 
is not allowed to visit? We sit down on a bla 
leather couch and shuffle through the mu 
lingual brochures on the table before i 
"Vicious attack on the GDR mission in Bonr 
"GDR deputies talk about the capitalist s 
tern"; "Guide to the museums of the cil 
— that one's certainly worth holding on 
There's a picture of that marvelous Egypti 
cat in the Bode Museum. I know it well: 
used to go there often when I cut classes. . 
ways alone, though; in company, I'd usua 
end up in a movie in West Berlin, or at I 
zoo. If I'd had my wits about me the da} 
was put on trial for staying away from sch< 
so much, I might have told them about I 
museums, instead of saying I'd spent my til 
"walking around corners." That was stuph 
belligerent. Conceivably, further question] 
would have established an extenuating p 



70 



1 for knowledge, an autodidactive motive 
J staying away from school. The teachers 
j: [d have asked themselves: Have we per- 
il i failed to provide this young man with 
I nourishment his mind and spirit required? 
1 ht we perhaps to change the curriculum? 
I laps he should be commended for such 
I Jfast and independent research. Such 
(1 tfian striving. Let us present him with the 
I al for Good Knowledge — the gold medal 
I ourse — in front of the next school assem- 
I It should, in fact, be possible to prevail 
I a Walter Ulbricht to pin it onto his lapel. 
t ooking at the Egyptian cat again, I'm re- 
I ded of the cat in my dream, and now I 
I ignize it: it was a cat we used to own in 
I js-Glienicke, a gray Persian cat named 
tor. It was blind. But it didn't have scars 
the one in the dream, and its tail wasn't 
iaged. Suddenly another veil is lifted: I re- 
lber the last lines of a poem I read and 
ad the night before we left New York — 
ts's sonnet "To Mrs. Reynolds's Cat": 

. . . and for all 
'hy tail's tip is nicked off, and 

though the fists 
)f many a maid have given thee many 

a maul, 

hill is that fur as soft as when the lists 
n youth thou enteredst on glass-bottled 
wall. 

feel an extraordinary pleasure reciting 
>e words to myself and observing their cor- 
>ondence to the dream, and I look at Susie 
have to laugh because there's no way I 
explain this sudden joy to her or to my- 
. Not that that's necessary, for her face 
its up and I reach out and squeeze her hand. 
The West German couple walk past us, 
ling. 

'Come on, it's our turn," I say. 
Che young woman of the Reiseburo is puz- 
1 by the fact that we were given visas for 
se weeks when our voucher expires after 
se days. "Well, it's in your favor," she says, 
ugging one shoulder and handing back our 
sports, "so why question it?" 
Something happens as I translate these 
rds and Susie responds with a warm smile; 
rather: more gets translated than the mean- 
of the words. What is being conveyed, 
i received, and acknowledged, is a delicate, 
yfully conspiratorial gesture of human col- 
oration across the broad counter of the 
isebiiro, across the battlements of duty and 
cialdom: the woman knows it, and we know 
and we all know it's known and under- 
od, and there's a friendly feeling between 
as we continue with the business at hand. 



It seems we have no choice but to extend 
our voucher at least through the weekend. 
There's no way to foresee when we'll be able 
to get in touch with Helga, and whether she'll 
be able to put us up. The young woman sug- 
gests that we pay up for a week; if we can 
make other arrangements before then, there'll 
be no problem getting our money back. We 
agree to do that. 

"Let us see your voucher," she says. "How 
much are you paying?" 

I hand over the voucher. 

"Only twenty-four dollars a night? That's 
astonishing. That's very very cheap." 

"Cheap?" I say. "Believe me, it's quite ex- 
pensive for us. If this is cheap, what's the 
usual price?" 

"A double room . . . thirty-five dollars, may- 
be more." (She says that seriously, with sin- 
cerity, and with the kind of pensive pout 
which, I now remember, is used in Berlin, and 
as far as I know only here, to lend an air of 
credulity and innocence to a dubious or pos- 
sibly outrageous statement. I 

"Thirty-five dollars!" I exclaim. "That's al- 
most a hundred marks!" 

"Eighty-five." 

"And GDR citizens can afford this?" 
"Oh, no," she says. "We pay half the 
amount. The fees are doubled for foreigners." 
I translate for Susie. 

"So who pays double," Susie asks, "West- 
erners, or all foreigners?" 
I translate. 

"Westliche," she says. 

With that cat out of the bag, Susie and I 
laugh, and the woman smiles. 

"Anyway," I say, "is the half-price reason- 
able for GDR citizens?" 

"Oh, yes. Everyone here can afford to stay 
at a good hotel. Perhaps not for long, but for 
a week or two in a year, yes." 

"That's good," I say. "It's not that way for 
everyone in America. As a matter of fact, we 
can't really afford this hotel room you say is so 
cheap." 

"You should change your citizenship," she 
says. She takes a printed form from one of 
several stacks of paper on the counter and 
poises a pen over it. 

"How many days do you want to stay at 
the Berolina?" (For a moment I thought she 
was offering me a form to apply for my re- 
patriation. ) 

"Let's say eight days," I suggest. "How 
much will that be — in dollars?" 

"One hundred ninety-two, including break- 
fast. But you can't pay us in dollars. You have 
to change them into marks. Go left to the sec- 
ond window — not the first, that's the police." 



"I feel an ex- 
traordinary 
pleasure 
reciting these 
words to myself 
and observing 
their corre- 
spondence to 
the dream . . ." 



71 



Joel Agee 



WALKING ON 
THE WALL 



1 



HARPER-S 

AUGUST 1978 



FTER twenty min- 
utes we return to the 
Reisebiiro (there was 
a line before the cash- 
a^'V^ ier's window). The 

K ViaM young woman's busy 

flf o n the telephone 

vB^^ the hack room. My 
tK^^ '^^B hands are fall of pass- 
*tf tS^T" ports and stamped 

fcj SB and signed sheets of 

paper, and money. 
^^^^B The money's still as I 
last saw it, the same featherweight coins (tin? 
aluminum?), and poor Goethe's still got that 
bilious complexion and unfocused look — no 
human face should be tinted green. And this 
woman with the firm jaw — I don't think I 
ever read the name beneath the face before: 
Clara Zetkin, the Socialist theoretician. So 
that's what she looked like. I still remember 
the day the money changed, it must have been 
in '56 or '57. Trucks went through the streets 
with loudspeakers blaring the news, all the ra- 
dio stations announced it: Twenty-four hours 
(or was it twelve?) to turn in all one's money 
in exchange for the new currency. Latecomers 
would suffer the consequences. A lot of peo- 
ple were cursing: couldn't they have given us 
earlier notice, and what's the big idea anyway, 
cash is cash — all this for a new set of faces 
on the bills? But the predominant mood was 
of almost carnival-like exhilaration. Wheeee! 
In a few hours all our money's worthless — 
cash it in quick before the gates shut down! 
Next day, the newspapers and commentators 
explained: we all, all of us together, every 
citizen of the GDR had helped strike a blow 
against the profiteers in the money market 
in West Berlin. West Germans had been ex- 
changing West-marks for East-marks at a rate 
of one to four, and coming to the East to 
clean up the shops, draining the country of 
its productive output. I don't think many East 
Germans felt they could honestly take credit 
for this clever coup on the part of their gov- 
ernment. But I think most people enjoyed the 
excitement. Except perhaps that old woman 
on Schonhauser Allee, living off her pension, 
always wearing the same black dress, wdio was 
seen b) all her neighbors hobbling to the bank 
with a suitcase full of money she'd kept hid- 
den beneath the floorboards; or that regional 
Party boss Bodo heard about, who ignored the 
decree because he believed it simply had to be 
the handiwork of saboteurs and wreckers. 

"I'm sorry I kept you waiting," says the 
young woman cheerfully, returning from the 
phone. "I've arranged for you to keep your 
room. It was booked, but . . . it's settled." 



"Oh — thank you very much . . ." 

"Actually you should thank the Kollegii 
spoke to at the Berolina — eine einzige Se 
a rare soul, she is." 

We conclude our transaction: she gets 
money, we get a receipt ("Don't lose it," 
says. "You may have to show it when 5 
leave the country"), a new voucher, anc 
money: an incomprehensibly generous bre 
fast allowance, about a third of the bill. 

"That's in case you don't want to eat bre 
fast at the hotel," she explains. 

"Oh, that's very thoughtful," I say. "'Tha 
you." 

"Now you can get your residence permi 
she says. 

"And what happens if we move into 
friend's house?" 

"For that you have to have a special 
mit, and I think it takes a while to go throuf 
And then you have to register with the poll 
at the precinct where she lives. And you ha 
to register in the housebook, too." 

"Complicated," I say. 

"Unnecessarily," she replies, without ire 
bitterness. "Life could be made simpler a; 
more enjoyable, just by getting rid of unnec< 
sary regulations. But then, there are absun 
ties built into your society, too." 

"There certainly are," I say. Not that th 
excuses anything, I think to myself. Then 
translate for Susie. 

"Oh, one more thing," I say. "Do you ha' 
a map of the city?" 

"Yes, here's a map with a guide to 
sights and cultural centers. It's about a ye. 
old, some street names have changed sim 
then. But otherwise it's accurate." 

I pay her and take the map. I start puttir 
away the money, the voucher, the passport 
our various receipts. It's good we have tw 
wallets to keep all this carefully sorted. 

"Let's throw away everything we dor 
need," Susie suggests. Good idea. Here a: 
old American bills and receipts, gum wrappei 
a crumpled map of Copenhagen with a pe 
ciled circle around Christiania. I look arour 
for a wastebasket, but there is none. I noti< 
some people on the black couch behind us. 

"Where can I get rid of this?" I ask. I us< 
the word wegschmeissen, which is much t( 
forceful- — my German's rusty after all. 

"Give it to me," says the woman, laughin 
''ril fling it away for you." I hand her tl 
stuff, and then she notices the map. "Whal 
this? Oh. Copenhagen." She unfolds it ai 
looks at it for a long quiet moment. Then si 
smoothes it out on the counter and folds 
carefully. "I think I'll keep this," she saj 
"Maybe someday I can go to Copenhagen." 



72 



IN OUR TIME 



by Tom Wolfe 



The Modern Minister 

Si 




"Marvelous, isn't he? I hear he's going to be our new bishop." 
"I'm not surprised. A sadomasochistic pederast who talks in 
tongues and does faith healing and cocaine — how can he miss? 



73 



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mankind has been developed within the last two decades. Millions of 
pieces of information are created daily. And the total amount is 
doubling every ten years. 

The problem, as with any crisis, is one of management. With fuel, 
it's a question of making proper use of too little. With information, it's 
making proper use of too much. 

With 72 billion new pieces of information arriving yearly, how 
do you cope with it all? How do you gather it, edit it, disseminate it, 
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XEROX 



BOOKS 



EGYPT'S 
GRAND 
ILLUSION 



by T. D. Allman 



Search of Identity: An Auto- 
graphy, by Anwar el-Sadat. 360 
s. Harper & Row, S 12.95. 

^ ut what of the outcome? Did 
my plan come off? I had reck- 
■ oned." writes President Sadat 
toward the end of his mem- 

, "that my Jerusalem trip would 

ik the vicious cycle within which 

lad been caught for years." 

onsidering that he is a politician, 
a politician still in power ruling 

oubled nation in a most troubled 
of the world. Sadat's autobiogra- 

is often revealing: but in order to 

e any higher purpose, a politician 

. must serve himself. 

My calculations proved accurate 
ugh," Sadat claims, defending his 
rney last year, like Mohammed to 

mountain, to Menachem Begin in 
isalem. Explaining his philosophy 

statecraft, Sadat earlier observes 
t "some people define politics as 

art of the possible, which I find 
atisfactory." He then stands this 
ventional wisdom on its head, just 
-in his October 1973 war and 
vember 1977 peace offensive — he 
;mpted to stand the military and 
lomatic reality of a thirty-year 
ib-Israeli war on its head. 
'Politics may be defined, rather, as 

D. Allman is a contributing editor of 
per's, a director of the Third Century 
erica Project, and an editor for Pacific 
vs Service. 



the art of the impossible," Sadat 
proposes. 

To return to the Mideast for 
the twelfth time since Black 
September. 1970. as I re- 
cently did. is to return to 
a region still tortured by the politics 
of the impossible. Nine months after 
former Secretary of State Henry Kis- 
singer, with his habitual clairvoyance, 
predicted that President Sadat had 
made peace inevitable, the vicious cy- 
cle has not been broken. Today the 
Sadat proposals.' like so many songs 
of Solomon, still are sung to the visit- 




ing envoys of the international press. 
But a better measure of the peace 
process is to be found in the collapse 
of Israeli-Egyptian negotiations, and 
in the cluster-bombed villages of south 
Lebanon. 

"I returned from Israel," Sadat re- 
ports, "having agreed on two basic 
points: first, that the October war 
would be our last war: and second, 
that we should discuss around the ne- 
gotiating table the question of securi- 
ty both for them and for us." The 
Cairo-Jerusalem negotiations ended al- 
most before they began. Then, four 
months after Sadat told the Knesset 
that "amidst the ruins . . . there emerges 
neither victor nor vanquished," Is- 
raeli firepower created 200,000 refu- 
gees in south Lebanon in seven days. 
The axiom of Sadat's peace initiative 
was that the conflict's "root cause was 
none other than that very psycholog- 
ical barrier . . . that huge wall of sus- 
picion, fear, hate, and misunderstand- 
ing that for so long existed between 
Israel and the Arabs." The corollary 
was that a stunning psychological ges- 
ture could bring sudden peace. 

Since then, the corollary, if not the 
axiom, has been disproved. The sus- 
picions, fears, hate, and misunder- 
standings all remain. With his peace 
initiative, Sadat in fact created a new 
alliance. He united hard-line Arabs 
rejecting any recognition of Israeli 
rights and hard-line Israelis rejecting 
any recognition of Palestinian rights. 



75 



BOOKS 



Since last November each set of Re- 
jectionists, in its efforts to destroy the 
peace process, has not hesitated to set 
in motion events that helped the other. 
Thus Menachem Begin and his policy 
of resisting self-determination for the 
Occupied Territories were the real 
beneficiaries of the Palestinians" bun- 
gled, brutal excursion down the high- 
way to Tel Aviv. Those who gained 
most from the Israeli invasion of Leb- 
anon were Yasir Arafat and the PLO. 

"We held off the might of Israel for 
seven days," runs a Palestinian slogan, 
now heard throughout the Arab world. 
In 1967, Israel defeated the combined 
forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in 
six days. This year, even American in- 
telligence sources agree, Palestinian 
guerrillas delayed whole Israeli bat- 
talions for a week. Yet the novelties of 
the lighting in south Lebanon were less 
significant than what the fighting 
failed 'to change. Today the Israeli 
raids continue, like the arms shipments 
to their Maronite clients, but the Pal- 
estinian raids continue, too. \\ hile 
the L .N. command talks tough at press 
conferences, the guerrillas reinhltrate 
the border regions. Like all previous 
Mideast conflicts, this one settled noth- 
ing and made a settlement more diffi- 
cult. Its chief result — both welcomed 
and intended by the hard-liners on 
each side — was to restore a status quo 
of implacable hostility only temporari- 
ly threatened by President Sadat's vis- 
it to Jerusalem. 

"Dwarfs" was the way Sadat orig- 
inally described opponents of his peace 
plan. But in a region where the grand- 
est gestures of statesmanship seem 
always to become ensnared in a web 
of intransigence, the President of Egypt 
now increasingly resembles Gulliver in 
Lilliput. While the opponents of com- 
promise increasingly dominate events 
in the Mideast. Sadat himself more and 
more seems dv. arfed by a situation he 
has failed to transform. 

In his memoirs Sadat exalts him- 
self, but he takes even greater pains 
to diminish his predecessor, Gamal Ab- 
del Nasser. Nasser, he says, was rid- 
dled w ith "intractable inner 'conflicts'." 
"We," Sadat emphasizes, "are no long- 
er motivated by 'complexes".'" "Nasser 
died without ever experiencing joie de 
vivre," Sadat asserts. He portrays him- 
self as ''by nature inclined to do good." 
Nasser bequeathed '"a legacy of suspi- 
cion." Sadat describes his own presi- 



dency as proof that "love triumphed 
in the end." 

President Sadat thus personalizes 
the politics of Egypt the way he per- 
sonalized the entire Mideast crisis with 
his trip to Jerusalem. But in truth the 
"politics of the impossible"' that Sa- 
dat presents as his own invention is 
nothing new. It seems Egypt's fate to 
have rulers who walk like giants across 
the world stage, while accomplishing 
agonizingly little for their own people. 
A quarter-century ago. it seemed as im- 
possible that Nasser could nationalize 
the Suez Canal, force the British, Is- 
raelis, and French to withdraw, and 
build the Aswan High Dam as it later 
seemed Sadat could take the offensive 
against the Israelis in 1973, reopen the 
canal in 1975, and go to Jerusalem in 
L977. It was only after the politics of 
the grand gesture manifestly had failed 
either to solve Egypt's problems or to 
resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict — after 
Nasser discovered that expelling co- 
lonialists was not the same thing as 
building a modern nation: that con- 
fronting Israel was not the same thing 
as defeating Israel: that constructing 
twentieth-century pyramids was not the 
same thing as transforming Egyptian 
society — that Nasser himself was trans- 
formed into the embittered dictator 
Sadat describes. 

In its foreign editions, Sadat's auto- 
biography, like his acts of statesman- 
ship, has been widely interpreted as an 
international event, an effort to win 
further support abroad for Sadat's 
peace initiative. But the book is prob- 
ably more significant for its Arab edi- 
tion, part of Sadat's effort to ensure his 
survival in power through a constant 
campaign of de-Nasserization. Since 
Nasser first tried to summon forth 
Arab unity with radio broadcasts and 
summit conferences, with his version 
of the statesmanship of gesture that 
Sadat later adopted. Egypt almost al- 
ways has been misinterpreted as a 
countrv whose foreign policy dictates 
its domestic agenda. 

The reverse much more often has 
been true, which is a major reason 
Egyptian foreign policy so often is mis- 
understood. Eden. Dulles, and the Rus- 
sians all grosslv overestimated the in- 
ternational significance of the Nasserite 
revolution. Thirty years of external 
dramatics engendered by Egypt's in- 
ternal weaknesses have created the be- 
lief — abroad, but even more so in 



Egypt itself — that Egypt is a grea 
tion. The truth is that Egypt's lac 
natural resources condemns it t< 
ternational dependency. Its popula 
in spite of an unchecked birth rat 
smaller than that of the Philipp 
yet Egyptian leaders live overshad( 
by the pyramids. In formal spee 
they must use the classical rhe 
of great Arab conquests that e 
nearly a thousand y ears ago. In s 
tion where the discrepancy bet\ 
past greatness and future prospec 
so enormous, a leader never can 
fill his people's expectations. 

But he can excite their imaginati 
Sadat's expulsion of the Soviets 
1972 was interpreted as a geopoli 
event but was dictated by internal 
litical necessity. By ousting the 
sians, Sadat convinced the Egyp 
middle class, the land-owning peasz 
the country's mercantile oligarch 
all Sadat's most important suppor 
— that the days of Nasser's failed 
cialism were over. More important, 
encouraged his supporters to imaj 
that with Soviet-style austerity at 
end, American-style affluence lay 
ahead. Similarly, the 1973 war, by 
punging the dishonor of the 1967 
feat, diverted the Egyptian Army ( 
ments of which already had mutin 
against Sadat I from political intrigi 
and bound it personally to Sadat, 
hope cannot stave off hunger forev 
In January last year, rising food pri 
led to the worst disturbances in E°n 
since anti-British rioters burned do 
Shepheard's Hotel, and much of the r 
of European Cairo, in 1952. The ar 
restored order: the middle classes i 
lied to the status quo. But what coi 
Sadat next offer the average Egypti; 
in the absence of material progres 
Ten months later. Sadat returned fn 
Jerusalem and rode through the stre 
of Cairo in an open car. Where so 
centlv his portrait had been stoned, 
was applauded as a conquering he 
For many Egyptians the hopes Prt 
dent Sadat aroused were economic a 
political, not diplomatic. With pe; 
at hand, could political freedom a 
economic prosper it v be far behind? 

IN the early days of his presidt 
cy, Sadat correctly concluded tl 
confrontation with Israel did i 
work, that reliance on the Sov 
I nion did not work, that socialism ( 



76 



work. It now seems increasingly 
y that — as with his Jerusalem trip 
adat nonetheless was too quick to 
ve the wrong corollaries from the 
i axioms. He convinced himself 
conciliation with Israel would 
k, that reliance on the United 
es would work, that economic lib- 
ization would work. The truth — 
j iasser, Eden, Dulles. Brezhnev, and 
finger all discovered — is that noth- 
seems to work in the Mideast. So 
[ he absence of effectiveness, one is 
f with gesture: Anglo-French para- 
I <pers storming the Suez Canal; U.S. 
I ines landing on Beirut beaches be- 
l bikinied sunbathers: Kissinger in 
f shuttle diplomacy convincing the 
vision cameras, but not the Israelis 
J the Palestinians, that peace is at 
d. It is the nature of a fireworks 
Jay to attract attention to itself, 
le neither altering nor illuminating 
scene around it. So many months 
r Anwar el-Sadat replaced Kissin- 
as the superstar of Mideast di- 
macy, the Israelis still occupy the 
ai; the Palestinians still have a veto 
r peace. But these considerations 
I be secondary to the fact that, for 
average Egyptian, life is harder 
( under Sadat than it was under 
jser. To return to Egypt always is 
reenter a society in which entropy 
the upper hand. But this time — 
blem of both President Sadat's 
devements and his failures — I found 
! thing dramatically changed, 
"ormerly, Cairo airport was an or- 
il worse than a Golan tank battle 
the visiting journalist, a gauntlet 
imperious bureaucrats, bickering 
rters, surly chauffeurs. Today the 
iving journalist is received with the 
ne deference with which Sadat beck- 
5 Barbara Walters into the pres- 
:ntial salon of his jet. A courteous 
:cial brushes away the red tape, en- 
-es that one's baggage is not in- 
:cted, conveys one to a waiting Mer- 
ies-Benz. President Sadat has rev- 
ltionized the world's perception of 
ypt, but he has not changed Egypt 
elf. It no longer matters in Cairo if 
e has a telephone ; if the one in your 
om does happen to work, the tele- 
one of the person one is calling does 
t. Under Sadat's economic liberal- 
ition program, Cairo has become a 
y of Levantine traffic jams. The 
imber of private automobiles is soar- 
g, while the number of buses in 



working order declines. Millions of 
urban youths, even those with ad- 
vanced degrees, can find no work. In 
the countryside the number of landless 
peasants never ceases to grow. 

Many suggest that if President Sadat 
cannot come up with a major diplo- 
matic triumph — Israeli retrocession of 
the Sinai at the minimum, w ith a paper 
commitment to eventual Palestinian 
self-determination — by the first anni- 
versary of his Jerusalem trip, he will 
be back where he was January a year 
ago, with mobs in the Cairo streets. 
For that reason alone, between now 
and November one can expect much 
old wine to be decanted into new dip- 
lomatic bottles. But this prognosis, like 
so many interpretations of Egypt, ac- 
cords foreign policy too determinant 
an influence. The Egyptian people 
have been suffering, mostly in silence, 
for 5,000 years. They tend to rally to 
leaders in defeat. No politician in pow- 
er today possesses Sadat's gift for sur- 
vival. 

The general preoccupation with w hat 
will happen to Anwar el-Sadat distracts 
attention from the real question in the 
Mideast today: What has happened to 
the principles he represents? Nasser- 
ism died in 1967, even though Nasser 
lived until 1971. '"Have I been able to 
realize the image of myself and my 
country that has been with me since 
early boyhood?" Sadat asks, in a pas- 
sage reflecting the euphoria of his Je- 
rusalem trip. "All I can say — and all 
I know — is this: In every decision I 
made, in every action I took, I have 
been directed by my firm belief in 
friendship, in love, in work that helped 
those around me to live a better life 
[and] see my ideals and those of my 
country being realized. I have never 
sought power; for early in my life I 
discovered that my strength lies with- 
in me — in my absolute devotion to 
what is right, just and beautiful. So 
far. the search has not ended. . . . There 
is a long way for me and my people 
to go before we achieve a life where 
love, peace and the integrity of man 
prevail. May God guide our steps and 
those of our fellow men everywhere." 

Love, peace, the integrity of man. 
The dream thrilled the world. But in 
Cairo six months after Sadat wrote 
those lines, it was apparent that it was 
as difficult to make those principles 
prev ail in domestic Egyptian politics as 
in the search for international peace. 



It already was apparent that freedom 
meant the ability of the opposition to 
point out that the peace process had 
failed to retrieve a single inch of 
ground from the Israelis; that eco- 
nomic liberalization amounted to a 
license for Sadat's personal entourage 
to become millionaires; that the mu- 
tual affection, effectively indistinguish- 
able from love, pertaining between the 
President of Egypt and the interna- 
tional press had not prevented Egypt's 
imports from exceeding its exports by 
400 percent, or inflation from running 
at 30 percent. 

While the world again looked for 
the international significance, Sadat 
took an initiative bred of Egyptian do- 
mestic circumstances. He purged his 
opponents, both Right and Left, from 
participation in the country's political 
life. A rubber-stamp plebiscite ap- 
proved Sadat's new repression by the 
99 percent majority habitual in Nas- 
ser's day. "I will make their blood flow- 
in the streets," he threatened, if oppo- 
nents dared challenge his leadership. 
Sadat may never have sought power, 
but one tends to conserve it when it is 
the one sure thing left. 



THE most affecting passages 
in Sadat's memoirs express 
his exasperation at British ar- 
rogance and Russian perfidy 
and avow his almost simple faith that 
somehow the virtues of the "true Egyp- 
tian: good-humored, decent and tol- 
erant," can be made to prevail. Again 
and again Sadat contrasts the corrup- 
tion of war with the childhood virtues 
he knew, or at least now remembers — 
full of honest toil, simple pleasures, 
contentment at the Egyptian identity 
— in his r£>me village of Mit Abul- 
Kum, to which he had deeded the roy- 
alties from his book. 

The British and their "traditional 
colonialist mentality" still anger Sadat, 
a generation later. In one of the few 
passages flattering to Nasser. Sadat has 
him exclaim, "'Anwar! The Soviet 
Union is a hopeless case.' " Explaining 
the title of his book, Sadat writes that 
his life has been "mainly the story of 
a search for identity — my own and 
that of Egypt." Having taken so much 
tuition in so many past disasters, Sa- 
dat believes the search at last has 
found success, that he can redeem the 
past with an Egyptian policy that has 



79 




BOOKS 

become, "perhaps for the first time 
ever, objective and realistic rather 
than emotional and irrational." 

But have the lessons really been 
learned? Is the new faith Sadat now 
places in the United States and a pu- 
tative new American-guaranteed order 
linking the OPEC oil producers, the 
consumers, and the multinationals any 
less "emotional and irrational" than 
the unfounded expectations Nasser 
once lavished on that putative new 
world order allying the Soviet Union 
with the revolutionary aspirations of 
the Third World? In light of his com- 
ments about such figures as Anthony 
Eden and Alexei Kosygin, to say noth- 
ing of his stern judgment on Nasser's 
romantic expectations, it is instructive 
to consider Sadat's character analysis 
of the current President of the United 
States. 

"Piesident Carter," Sadat is con- 
vinced, "is true to himself and true to 
others. It is because he is so honest 
with himself that he can be honest 
with others. ... I find that I am deal- 
ing with a man . . . impelled by the 
power of religious faith and lofty val- 
ues — a farmer, like me." Sadat con- 
cludes: "I am very optimistic, and feel 
confident that he will shoulder his re- 
sponsibility as the President of the 
greatest country in the world." Then 
Sadat appeals for a transcendent act 
of American statesmanship, or what 
the Israelis denounce as an "imposed 
peace." He urges the United States to 
fulfill its "big responsibility, not only 
as a superpower that should promote 
the establishment of peace in this re- 
gion, but also [her responsibility] 
toward herself and her interests in this 
important part of the world." And 
why should America do this, whatever 
the merits in it for others? "The com- 
mon notion that Israel 'guards' U.S. 
interests in our region is fallacious," 
the President of Egypt argues. "We 
safeguard her interests." 

Thus Anwar Sadat's journey to Je- 
rusalem ends where it began, while 
Egypt's search for identity comes full 
circle, too: not with Israeli-Arab rec- 
onciliation, but — in face of the Mid- 
east's perpetual inability to heal itself 
— in the search for an outside med- 
icine man; not in Egypt at long last 
mastering its own destiny, but in 
Egypt offering to serve U.S. interests. 

Like Kissinger, Sadat has worked 
from a blueprint. But the structure he 



has built is not the edifice of peace 
he intended. Shuttle diplomacy did not 
help the Israelis and Palestinians, only 
Kissinger's own reputation and the 
American grand design. Sadat, too, 
has magnified himself, but like Kis- 
singer his accomplishment is essential- 
ly negative. Kissinger destroyed a So- 
viet Mideast policy, nurtured over two 
decades at enormous expense. Sadat 
has gained little for Egypt, but he has 
compromised, quite possibly terminat- 
ed, Israel's special relationship with 
the United States. 

Not even a man of Sadat's finesse, of 
course, could enact such a feat single- 
handedly. Menachem Begin has been 
his constant accomplice. One grates, 
the other ingratiates, but together they 
have played on, in contrapuntal har- 
mony, toward a single finale. Not long 
ago the conviction that Israeli intran- 
sigence was the major problem in the 
Mideast was limited to the right- and 
left-wing fringes of American politics. 
Today Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter, 
corporate executives and campus ac- 
tivists, Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew 
Brzezinski, all agree with the public- 
opinion polls: to use Sadat's formula- 
tion, "The common notion that Israel 
'guards' U.S. interests ... is fallacious." 
The OPEC cartel, which less than five 
years ago it was U.S. policy to desta- 
bilize, now is considered an essential 
pillar of vital American interests. 

The consequences for Israel of such 
a profound change not just in U.S. 
policy (which began evolving, with 
the Rogers Plan, toward evenhanded- 
ness even before Nasser died), but of 
the American national attitude (which 
has shifted much more suddenly), by 
now is obvious to everyone with the 
apparent exception oi the prime min- 
ister of Israel. But what of the pre- 
sumed benefits of this historic change 
for Sadat and the Egyptian people? 
Yet again, a false corollary may have 
been drawn from a valid axiom, in 
this case that no nation, not even the 
United States, can permit its foreign 
policy to be dictated by another na- 
tion, not even Israel. 



Sadat SET OUT to find an Amer- 
ican solution: America has 
wound up with an Egyptian 
problem. What is so alarmingly 
clear to the Israelis must by now be 
all too plain, in his private counsels, to 



President Sadat himself. The Uiy 
States has not so much disentaijh 
itself from Israel as accepted alp 
entanglement in Egypt. There i\m 
new Pax Americana, only a lesl 
equitable armaments-supply polio| 
both sides in future wars in m 
Middle East. 

The founding document of thell 
age was not Sadat's speech to th ; 
raelis about peace and love, but! 
package deal to sell weapons of m 
destruction to Israeli and Arab M 
Like Farouk with the British and 
ser with the Russians, Sadat with 
Americans has become the latest E 
tian ruler whose national utility 
principally in his position as ar 
terlocutor with the prevailing G 
Power. And what does Sadat gai 
return? 

If there are no food riots in Ej 
next year, it is because America 
year shipped Egypt 1.5 million ton 
wheat and flour. If there are no i 
riots, it is because the U.S. aid 
gram assures the supply of tall 
America's immense military and 
nomic commitment to Israel has I 
been rationalized; but now the sta 
tics are alarming in Cairo, too. Si 
diplomatic relations were restored 
November, 1973, the staff of the U 
embassy has grown from six to 1 
American aid to Egypt has risen fr 
zero to $1 billion a year. 

"My major target," Sadat expla: 
"is to put an end to the crisis in 
Middle East by solving the Palestin 
problem and effecting a withdra 
from the Arab lands occupied 
1967." Unlike Kissinger before h 
Sadat has dared to aim for real pes 
but like him he has hit only a les 
target. He finds himself with a i 
utation for statesmanship, while 
achievements of statesmanship el 
him: he has sought an American c< 
mitment to peace, but won only 
American commitment to the survi 
of his own regime. The crisis is 
ended: the Palestinian problem is 
solved; the Israelis have not w 
drawn. Anwar Sadat may survive, s 
cored by the Americans in the n 
of his grand design. The Israelis ri 
cling to the conquered lands, at the ( 
of forfeiting much more. But ami 
the ruins, as Sadat told the Knes 
there may emerge no victor; \ 
quished, in the Mideast, there alw 
are. 



80 



BARAKA AND BLOODSHED 



by Timothy Foote 



l vage War of Peace: Algeria 
I .1962, by Alistair Home. Illus- 
I ; 604 pages. Viking, $19.95. 

j THE city OF Algiers in the sura- 
ier of 1957 I thought of buying a 
ulletproof vest. It hung invitingly 
n a dummy torso in the window 
sonnet, a fashionable store on the 
/lichelet. and at the time there was 
reason for considering its pur- 
. The Battle of Algiers, between 
jmbers of the Front de Liberation 
naif I FLN) and General Jacques 
i's paratroop teams, had just 
1, but we didn't know it then, 
roopers and yellow jeeps still 
lied the streets. Customers, espe- 
Muslims, were regularly frisked 
; in or out of large stores. From 
to 6:00 P.M. the town was still 
ving what had come to be known 
The Hour of the Bombs." 

an attempt to terrorize Algiers 
bring its work to a standstill the 
had since January exploded forty- 
>ombs in the city, usually just af- 
. ork. w hen the cafes were crowded, 
y-seven civilians had been killed, 
ten and a few children among 
l. More than 250 people were bad- 
ljured. The last device, placed by 
teen-year-old Muslim busboy, went 
in early June among the dancers 
he seaside Casino de la Corniche, 

uhy Foote is a senior editor of Time 
izine. 




leaving nine dead and eighty-six 
wounded, including the dance band's 
girl singer, who had both her legs 
blown off at the knees. Yet when I ar- 
rived, a few weeks later, at the Hour 
of the Bombs the brightly painted 
chairs and gaudy parasols spilling out 
over the trottoirs outside the cafes 
were jammed with aperitif drinkers. 
The streets were filled w ith pretty girls, 
sun-bronzed, indolent, and discreetly 
underdressed, and fatmas, homeward 
bound from their day's work as house- 
maids to the French, faces half- 
shrouded in handkerchiefs drawn tight 
across the bridge of the nose, bodies 
lost in the folds of gray jellabas. 
Through the crowds stalked four-man 
paratroop search teams. Totally silent. 
No one looked at them, and they 
caught no one's eye. But once, when 
I carried a paper-wrapped package of 
shaving cream out into the street, I 
was aware that they were watching me. 

In those innocent days, the Hour of 
the Bombs, like much else that oc- 
curred in Algeria, stirred a peculiar 
blend of fear and disbelief in an Amer- 
ican reporter. Americans back home, 
if they noticed the Algerian war at all, 
tended to look upon it as some kind 
of outlandish mess that only the 
French could have got themselves into. 
Perhaps it was a kindred feeling of 
skepticism that kept me from actually 
buying the bulletproof vest. I remem- 
ber asking the price. It was 43,000 
francs (about $130), an amount that 
could certainly have gone on the ex- 
pense account. But suddenly I found 
that in some peculiar way I couldn't 
believe in the whole project. Vestless, 
but vastly relieved, and a bit smug, I 
went out into the Mediterranean sun- 
light. 

We knew so little then. Even in Al- 
geria. The FLN in particular was a 
3 persistent mystery. How many fight- 
r ing men did it have? Was it run from 
£ Cairo and mainly equipped by the 
c Communist bloc countries, as the 
n French, and Cold W arriors generally, 
= seemed to think? W as there a chance 
that France could actually implement 



expensive and extensive social and po- 
litical reforms, hold the FLN in check, 
and negotiate a new deal for Muslims 
in an Algeria that might remain 
French? Frenchmen insisted that it 
could be done. There was talk of 
the war being in "Ze dernier quart 
d'heure." Everyone else doubted it. 
The American view, I recall, was quite 
patronizing and simplistic. The natives 
were hostile, ran the line of thought. 
Their nationalist cause was just. Sep- 
aration was inevitable. Why didn't the 
crazy French just get on with it? 



How THE FRENCH did try to 
get on with it, and why it 
took them so long, is the ex- 
haustively treated subject of 
Alistair Home's new book. An English 
historian who specializes in French 
disasters — Verdun, the Paris Com- 
mune, the defeat of 1940 — Home has 
painstakingly, fairly, skillfully pieced 
together the whole anguishing chron- 
icle of the Algerian war. From the first 
attack by a handful of FLN terrorists 
in the Aures mountains in 1954, to the 
climax in 1962, when French soldiers, 
restrained from interfering under 
terms of the new treaty with France, 
often had to stand by and watch as 
hundreds of Algerian Muslims who had 
fought beside them to keep order in 
Algeria were butchered. 

The war cost France $15 billion. It 
lasted seven years. It killed from 
500,000 to a million Muslim Algerians 
and some 80,000 French soldiers and 
civilians. Delusions about the influ- 
ence of Cairo upon the war helped 
edge France into joining Israel and 
Britain in the Suez debacle of 1956. 
It sent 800,000 pieds noirs (French 
settlers in Algeria), finally obliged to 
choose "the suitcase or the coffin," 
back to France as homeless refugees. 
It al! but ruined the French army, 
and led to the disgrace and disband- 
ment of the Foreign Legion. (After 
dynamiting its base at Zeralda, the 
legion garrison drove off singing Edith 
Piaf's "Je ne regrette rien" as weeping 
crowds watched them go.) The Al- 
gerian war helped force the fall of 
seven French governments, and three 
times brought France (in 1958, 1960, 
and 1961) to the brink of civil war. 
\\ hen it began it was hardly noticed, 
even in Paris. Before it ended, it was 
stirring hot international debate in the 



81 



TV 

BOOKS 

U.N. and broadcasting acute French 
embarrassment on TV screens through- 
out the world. Small wonder that Home 
paints it as a perplexing blend of 
Racinian tragedy, incipient civil war, 
heroic colonial rebellion, and pure rev- 
olutionary terrorism of the kind that 
turns the stomach but often changes 
history. 

Having, in the interim, lived through 
the Vietnam war, Americans are now 
better equipped to forgive — and find 
unforgettable — the French agony in 
Algeria. Certain somber resonances 
are striking. Indeed, if American lead- 
ers had understood Algeria better at 
the time, everyone might have been 
spared the whole deadly and delusive 
charade that was Vietnam. It is as hard 
for anyone who reads Home atten- 
tively today (as it is difficult for 
anyone who followed the Algerian war 
in detail when it was going on) not to 
conclude that the Vietnam war was a 
crime (free-fire zones and foreign in- 
tervention aside) simply because it 
was a war that could never have been 
won. At the tactical level, Home makes 
clear, the campaign against the FLN 
proved once and for all that not even 
a modern army can destroy or long 
neutralize a native guerrilla terrorist 
force if that force has a protected bor- 
der to hide behind and regroup in. 

Painful parallels extend further. By 
1960 the French government had rebuilt 
roads, set up schools (to replace those 
burnt by the FLN), reorganized rural 
areas into small, workable administra- 
tive units with Muslims running them, 
made a start on land reform, and 
helped with agriculture. In short, 
twenty years too late, it was transform- 
ing the countryside for the better. Such 
reforms were supposed to take the wind 
out of any revolutionary sales pitch by 
the FLN and so "win the hearts and 
minds of the people." The work was 
well done (as I know from having 
watched it), with plenty of cash and 
courage and cleverness, by special vol- 
unteer SAS (Section Administrative 
Specialisee) officers, who were all Al- 
gerian experts and spoke the language 
of the villagers they were helping. If 
the SAS programs did not win the 
war, what hope could there have been 
for similar U.S. plans, started in Viet- 
nam a decade later, even had they 
been something more than window 
dressing, mainly conducted for propa- 
ganda purposes by monolingual Amer- 



icans who knew almost nothing about 
Vietnam and were working 10,000 
miles from home? 

FOR those already reasonably 
familiar with the Algerian war, 
Home's most notable contri- 
bution is the detail he offers 
about the FLN, its leadership and pol- 
icies, its silence, cunning, and fre- 
quent exile (into Tunisia or Moroc- 
co), above all its single-minded rev- 
olutionary ferocity. As a liberal and 
a historian trying to see things in 
perspective, Home is amazed at, and 
admiring of, the FLN leadership, which 
managed to keep the rebellion alive on 
not much more than terror and tenac- 
ity. (Until well after Suez, it got lit- 
tle from Cairo except radio bombast. 
As late as the fall of 1956, Home 
writes, the FLN had only twenty mor- 
tars and ten machine guns.) 

Politically and administratively Al- 
geria was a part of France. But seeds 
of rebellion had been deeply sown by 
French repression and neglect, the 
product of the myopic greed of the 
pieds noirs, who steadily blocked all 
necessary practical reform, while Par- 
is was pursuing its mission civilizatrice 
in education and asking Algerian Mus- 
lims to fight in France's foreign wars. 
No matter what the French did, how- 
ever, after World War II self-deter- 
mination was inevitable. For one thing. 
Algerian Muslims outnumbered the 
pieds noirs by eleven to one and were 
breeding ten times as fast. 

Through thick and thin the FLN 
kept to its single purpose. No cease- 
fire. No accommodation. No partition 
of Algeria. No dual citizenship per- 
mitted to the pieds noirs after indepen- 
dence. The FLN wanted — and ended 
by getting — an Algerian nation, deliv- 
ered exclusively into FLN hands. 

To achieve that required atrocities 
against pieds noirs in order to stir re- 
prisals, counterreprisals. until all pos- 
sibility of rapprochement between 
Muslims and Frenchmen was put in 
jeopardy. Home's laconic descriptions 
make one shudder, and then shudder 
again, at the realization of how easily 
the world, especially the liberal world, 
has come to accept terrorism as an 
inevitable part of political life — even 
to excuse it. through a peculiar double 
standard, when it is practiced by cit- 
izens of the Third World. 



FLN policy did not merely inB 
le grand sourire, the French idioifl 
describing the Algerian penchanB 
throat-cutting. It ran to such thini a 
the dismembering of murdered | 
en and placing the bodies of murckl 
children, not just babies, as if ■ 
in the womb. Under the directic 
a tough revolutionary ideologue m 
Ramdan Abane, the FLN also b 
systematically murdering Muslims 
resisted them at all, as well as 
pieds noirs or Muslims who sh( 
moderation and so might one 
serve as a political bridge, as i 
locuteurs valables between France 
the majority of the population. H 
describes how two Algerian Mi 
boys, aged thirteen and fourteen, l 
dered a thirteen-year-old Euro 
friend who had always treated thei 
friends and brothers. "But why 
you pick him?" they were asked, 
cause," they said earnestly, tryinj 
explain their idea of revolutionary 
rorism in a nutshell. "Because 
played with us." 

As it became clear that Fn 
would yield, the FLN leadership g 
frantic that some surviving splinte 
other nationalist groups might c< 
forward demanding a share of poi 
Pretending to speak "for the whole j 
pie of Algeria," they bitterly oppc 
all proposals for a referendum su] 
vised by the U.N. No shadow of ": 
choice," Home writes, was to thres 
FLN mastery. The whole control 
what is geographically the eleve 
largest country in the world, not 
mention the wealth of the Sahara 
and natural gas deposits discove 
during the rebellion, was about to 
theirs alone. Partly in consequei 
their proceedings, even against one 
other, came to resemble a Chic; 
gang war, though the St. Valentii 
Day massacre seems brisk and hum 
by comparison. 

Challenge and response? Perhi 
But it is nearly as hard to warm 
to these people as fathers of tl 
country, as it is impossible to 
sympathy for the lunatic fringe of 
pieds noirs whom Home and hist 
have made the villains of the pii 
More surprising and pleasing in 
book is the author's handling of G 
eral de Gaulle, to whom few Anj 
Saxons- — and no American that I kr 
of — has yet done justice. If Fra 
owes the FLN a debt, it is beca 



82 



1 gha (Arab guerrilla) intransigence 
3 an end to the febrile Fourth Re- 

lie and brought de Gaulle to power. 
, wo scenes stick in the mind. In 
, the tall, gray-faced, khaki-clad fig- 
'1 raises its stiff, teddy-bear arms on 

balcony of the Government Gen- 
I building in Algiers, and before 

1,000 cheering people emits those 
phic words, "Je vom ai compris." 
j vas, in the peculiar circumstance, 
. only thing to say. Totally right. 
| illy politic. Totally true. Yet totally 
u nguous. How truly the old general 
understood them all. The army, 
ch thought he had come to power to 
:heir man. The pieds noirs, who ex- 
| ;ed him to destroy French democ- 
j / so they might cling to their hold- 

I; in Algeria. The Algerian Muslims, 
i intuitively felt that here was a 
I i big enough to end the war and 
nt independence. How methodically 
| Gaulle proceeded to save France 
n them all — and from herself! 
'he other image recalls the grainy 
ige presented the world during two 
I ;f televised messages to his coun- 
nen and to the army when crises 
Algiers again threatened civil war. 
: lined and ursine face, with its 
se-set eyes and enormous nose. The 
rt, direct sentences of command 
I explanation so entirely free of the 
:ured posturing that would attend 
con's pronouncements about Viet- 
n, and untainted, as well, by the 
se simplicity that Lyndon John- 
i made a mockery of as he quavered 
about "slow and steady, stays the 
irse." Home records that the speech 
mght tears even to the eyes of peo- 
who hated de Gaulle, "including 
deal foreign journalists," watching 
TV show in a Paris bistro. "Eh bien, 
•n cher et vieux pays, nous void 
ic ensemble, encore une jois ..." 
Well, my dear country, my old 
mtry, here we are together, once 
ain facing a harsh test.") 

3E gaulle's performance in 
coming to power — and after- 
ward — was near perfection 
in timing and political per- 
Dtion. Like a Lear grown wise in- 
:ad of foolish in self-imposed exile, 
ring those years in Colombey les 
:ux Eglises he learned exactly how 
cope with the politicians whom he 
d proved so ill-skilled at handling 



after World War II. As the 1958 crisis 
that brought him to power grew, he 
waited and waited until France had 
reduced itself to such a state of help- 
lessness that even left-wing French pol- 
iticians were willing to accept him, and 
his price for returning — a new and 
workable constitution. "Is it credible," 
he reassured them, "that I am going to 
begin a career as a dictator at the 
age of sixty-seven?" Once he got to 
Algeria he saw, as he remarked to an 
aide, that "Africa is gone to hell, and 
Algeria with it." Then, with extraor- 
dinary skill — and some duplicity — 
keeping that knowledge to himself, he 
did his best to save the army from 
folly, and to work out some arrange- 
ment with the FLN. But he was really 
waiting until France understood, as he 
had, that truly "L'Afrique est foutue, 
et I'Algerie avec." 

"By waiting," Home writes, "de 
Gaulle had come back vested, first of 
all, in an acceptable degree of legit- 
imacy; and secondly he had not come 
as the army's man. If it were not for 
these two factors, it can be doubted 
whether the Algerian war could have 
ended without civil war in France." 
Yet just before his return, 500,000 
leftists marched in protest in Paris. 
Simone de Beauvoir, whom Home 
sometimes quotes with apparently un- 
witting irony, had "Freudian night- 
mares about a python dropping on her 
from the sky." 

The old general had now saved 
France for a second time. If that sec- 
ond time required even more skill and 
courage than the first, it was partly 
because, in 1940, he had set a dan- 
gerous precedent for any soldier — the 
invocation of a higher duty to dis- 
obey, for the good of the country and 
the satisfaction of national honor. The 
generals who led the 1961 Algiers 
putsch that de Gaulle faced down drew 
on that precedent. Many had baser 
motives. Resentment. Simple ambition. 
The desire to win at least one war af- 
ter so many losses — in 1940, at Dien 
Bien Phu, at Suez. Delusions that the 
FLN was a spearhead of international 
Communism. But some of the rebel- 
lious officers, especially General Mau- 
rice Challe, did what they did for rea- 
sons that seem close to pure conscience 
and personal honor. Their case is truly 
tragic, as well as instructive, and per- 
haps should be pondered, as Alistair 
Home suggests, "by the leaders of oth- 



er modern democratic armies should 
they ever come to impose too great 
a burden on the conscience of their 
generals." 

Understandably, nowadays, career 
officers, especially generals, are not 
treated very well in the public dis- 
course. They tend to be patronized or 
scorned either as Neanderthals or as 
cold-hearted careerists. Alistair Home 
is too generous and too full of historical 
empathy for that. Challe disliked pieds 
noirs extremists. And he knew in his 
heart that his project was doomed. 
Still he acted, because he was haunt- 
ed by his "crushing moral responsibil- 
ities to the harkis" (armed Algerians 
who fought for the government) to 
whom, on de Gaulle's instructions, he 
had given the repeated assurance: 
"France will never abandon you!" 
"We were committed," he told Home 
in a recent interview. "We had given 
our promises to the Arabs who worked 
for us." 

If that sounds quixotic, it should 
be remembered that the harkis, with 
nowhere to hide and no one to protect 
them, were killed by the thousands af- 
ter the peace. Perhaps more impor- 
tant, Algeria was the second time that 
French officers had been required to 
take upon their own private con- 
sciences responsibilities that should 
have rested upon their country and 
their government. And when the Paris 
government did not keep its word in 
Indochina, and the French pulled out, 
the French Army consigned these com- 
rades-in-arms quite literally to execu- 
tion. In Algeria a resolve grew that 
whatever France did the army would 
not go back on its word again. 

That way lay madness and treason. 
Yet in a time of situation ethics and 
Nixonian pleadings about "mistakes 
in judgment," such a conception of 
absolute value and honor is refresh- 
ing, whatever its dangers. De Gaulle is 
in his grave, having made France rea- 
sonably stable and prosperous. Alge- 
ria, Home says, is now one of the 
leaders of the Third World. The war 
dead have long since been buried. The 
generals are out of jail, albeit with 
their careers and lives justly and for- 
ever blasted. It helps to have the evi- 
dence of history to ratify your deci- 
sions. Which may mean no more than 
that it helps to have what the Arabs 
call baraka — a luck so persistent that 
it borders upon grace. □ 



83 



IN PRAISE OF SHEER NONSENSE 



by Earl Shorris 



The Life of the Mind, by Hannah 
Arendt. Volume I : Thinking. 258 pages, 
$12.50; Volume II: Willing. 277 pages, 
$12.50; boxed set, $25. Harcourt Brace 
Jovanovich. 

Sapiens: 1) sensible, judicious person; 
2) philosopher, sage 

According TO our disposition, 
we first greet philosophy ei- 
ther with respect, because we 
do not understand it, or with 
derisive laughter, because we are em- 
barrassed by it. That first encounter, 
however, is not necessarily final: we 
may change or philosophy may change 
or we and philosophy both may change, 
and so on. Since we and society and 
philosophy are always changing, by a 
kind of temporal addition, if nothing 
else, it would seem worthwhile to con- 
front ourselves with philosophy every 
now and then to find out whether the 
conclusion of that first encounter still 
holds. 

Why? How can philosophy be worth- 
while? It cannot even be guaranteed 
to make us philosophical about our 
problems; it may even lead us to un- 
derstand Stoicism so that we will no 
longer want to be as submissive as the 
former slave, Epictetus, or as faintly 
connected with this earth as the im- 
prisoned Boethius. Furthermore, we 
cannot simply confront ourselves with 
philosophy, we must choose among 
more schools than we can ever hope to 
know. Shall we become logicians or 
metaphysicians? Shall we put our hope 
into the analysis of propositions or the 
question of free will? We could be- 
come Platonists or Aristotelians, Thom- 
ists, Cartesians, Logical Positivists 
Kantians, Hegelians, Pragmatists, Ex- 
istentialists (Catholic or otherwise) , J I 
or we could take up Sophistry in its 
original form and come to the conclu- 
sion that man is the measure of all 
things. And why not? Can Nature 
watch television? Can the unmoved 

Earl Shorris is a contributing editor of 
Harper's. 



84 



mover jog? If man is not the measure 
of all things, he must at the very least 
be the tape measure. 

Perhaps the worst problem in con- 
fronting philosophy stems from the 
ability of philosophers to argue their 
cases. The Greeks used to train by 
practicing elenctic disputation, a form 
of debate in which one contestant could 
use only questions to attack the thesis 
of his opponent, who was limited to 
yes or no answers. What hope have 
we, trained mainly on consumption 
and tinkering, of confuting the argu- 
ments of philosophers? No matter 
which philosopher we read, his argu- 
ments seem to make sense until we 
read another philosopher who points 
out the errors of the first: the second 
will then be demolished by a third, 
and the third by a fourth, and so on; 
in the end we receive a lesson in in- 
finity equal to that of the stars. Pity 
poor Parmenides, then, who decided 
sometime around 450 B.C. that hav- 
ing made his argument about being 
and nonbeing he had rolled the whole 
subject of philosophy into a neat ball 
and finished it off. Now, not only do 
most historians of philosophy refuse to 
concede that Parmenides completed 
the task, many of them suggest that 
philosophy didn't really get started 
until Plato wrote his dialogues about 
Socrates, who may or may not have 
said much of what Plato attributed 



to him 




PHILOSOPHY FELL into disre 
almost 2400 years ago, she 
after men appeared in At 
who devoted themselves to tl 
ing. Aristophanes ritualized the la 
ter in The Clouds, but the clearer 
of disrepute came at the trial of 
rates in 399 B.C. The condemnatio 
Socrates set two courses for ph 
ophy: it has never risen in the est 
of the general public or of those 
hold power; and it has, even in 
darkest periods, borne a sense of 
timism, a tradition Plato, who atter 
the trial of Socrates, began: he 
Athens for his own safety afterw 
and yet came back to found the A( 
emy. 

Despite its failure as philosoj: 
some aspects have had determining 
fluences on the world, and those 
well known: science has grown fi 
Aristotle, all of us have learned 
Pythagorean theorem, and much 
humanity owes its current state U 
form of Marxism Marx never im 
ined. But we might do better to a 
gorize those aspects as natural scien 
mathematics, and economics, rat] 
than philosophy, and think of phi 
ophy in the usual way as metaphys 
reason rather than intellect, to 
plify Kant's distinction. If we ma 
that distinction and consider only thi 
rein and not prattein. we are left 
the unworldly vita contemplatii 
which any sensible person knows h 
not ever had great currency or effe 
unless we consider religious war 
direct result, however perverse, of t 
teachings of Moses, Christ, and M 
hammed. 

In such context, why did Hann; 
Arendt, author of what is surely t 
most important work on modern tot; 
itarianism and a powerful and insigl 
ful essay on the trial of Adolf Eic 
mann, choose to spend the last yea 
of her life writing on The Life of t 
Mind? To speculate on why she wrc 
the book may well lead to the clean 
understanding of the meaning of it. 

Arendt wrote in her introductii 
that she did not consider herself 
professional thinker," implying t 
obverse: the book was intended n 
for the use of academics but for ai 
reader whose life might include co 
templation. Some critics have coi 
plained that the work contains nothii 
new, and this may be so, but she d 
not intend a Copernican revolution 



^ versal history, for no one would 
been more aware than she of 
■ s claim to the former and his 
^ nition about the latter: 

I Since the philosopher must as- 
. Tie that men have a flexible pur- 
\ se of their own, it is left to him 
1 attempt to discover an end of 
*. ture in this senseless march of 
■1 man events. A history of crea- 
4 -es who proceed without a plan 
uld be possible in keeping with 
( ch an end; the history would pro- 
J ed according to such an end of 
j ture. 

I^e shall leave it to nature to 
i oduce a man who would be capa- 
I f of writing history in accordance 
th such an end. Thus nature pro- 
iced a Kepler who figured out 
unexpected way of subsuming 
e eccentric orbits of the planets 
definite laws, and a Newton who 
plained these laws by a general 
use of nature. 

though both completed sections 
le book. Thinking and Willing, 
eed historically from the Greeks, 
concern does not seem to have 
with history, except as it affects 
s: she follows Kant in her love 
nan- and in her passion for peace 
freedom, noting again and again 
j he describes the caroming devel- 
I ent of philosophy that professional 
cers have generally opposed free- 
— and for her all opponents of 
lom are equally in error, 
her purpose had been merely to 
•se the nonprofessional to a his- 
of the vita contemplativa, she 
it have spared herself a great labor 
•uggesting a reading list: but this 
t, like virtually everything else she 
te, is not scholarship for its own 
: it is an act in defense of free- 
. For Kant the connection between 
emplation and freedom was that 
concept of freedom . . . rests upon 
authority of reason." Arendt was 
:her kind of philosopher, a politi- 
scientist. concerned with action, 
contemplation. Her temperament 
ated that she seek a use for con- 
plation in action. She set the task 
herself in the final pages of The 
nan Condition, her book on the 
activa: "If no other test but the 
erience of being active, no other 
isure but the extent of sheer ac- 
ty were to be applied to the various 
vities within the vita activa, it 



might well be that thinking as such 
would surpass them all." 

Had she been an unworldly person, 
the task might have been relatively 
easy, but only a few paragraphs earlier 
she had written: "Thought ... is still 
possible, and no doubt actual, wher- 
ever men live under the conditions of 
political freedom. Unfortunately ... no 
other human capacity is so vulnerable, 
and it is in fact far easier to act under 
conditions of tyranny than it is to 
think." 



THE problem in thinking about 
thinking, as Gilbert Ryle 
wrote, is that it leads to an 
infinite regression: we think 
about thinking about thinking and so 
on ad infinitum. Arendt had not only 
that problem to deal with, but an- 
other, far more difficult one: if one 
cannot think except under conditions 
of political freedom, how can men 
who are not free ever become so, un- 
less thinking has no bearing on politi- 
cal action and thus ultimately on free- 
dom? The Ryle analysis takes us in 
the direction of derision and laughter, 
but the problem Arendt has set for 
herself cannot be so easily written off, 
for it implies the utter inconsequence 
of thought, a disjunction in the mind. 

Thinking, which Plato described as 
a dialogue in the soul, requires a w ith- 
drawal from the world, giving rise, as 
Arendt says, to the perception of think- 
ers as absent minded. Socrates, for ex- 
ample, was said to have spent twenty- 
four hours in silence and stillness be- 
fore answering a question, a state that 
Bertrand Russell cruelly described as 
catalepsy. The experience of thinking 
seems to bear out Socrates' behavior. 
Heidegger's concept of w ithdrawal, and 
the ancient connection of philosophy 
w ith death, because it took the thinker 
away from being among men. 

Yet how can one think among things, 
without space or silence? Thinking 
consumes nothing in a world that re- 
quires things to be consumed. How 
can one think in a world so devoted 
to speed that the two-billionths of a 
second required for a computer to 
perform a yes or no operation has been 
deemed too slow? We do not think be- 
cause we have been occupied by the 
enemy of thinking, the society of our 
invention. Practicality devours us. 
If we do not think, in Arendt's sense 



of seeking meaning rather than truth, 
what have we lost? Cartesian notions 
have long been abandoned to the w orld- 
liness of G. E. Moore's common sense 
or assertions as blunt as the "It is" of 
Parmenides. The world will exist with 
or without us; we neither are alone nor 
is any one of us a sovereign dreamer. 
Ethics, philosophy of science, logic, 
any philosophy of practicality can be 
defended for its attendance upon pro- 
cess, but thinking seems without an 
end: even Arendt concedes this. 

So what of our initial understanding 
of her statement that men cannot think 
except under conditions of political 
freedom? Perhaps she was paraphras- 
ing Kant, who said in the Maxims, 
"The external power that deprives 
man of the freedom to communicate 
his thoughts, deprives him at the same 
time of his freedom to think." But 
what external power has stilled every 
whisper, or, being unthinking itself, 
been able to recognize immediately 
the manifestations of thinking in com- 
munication? More likely. Arendt's 
statement refers to the idea that men 
can think only under uncrowded con- 
ditions, a concept she described bril- 
liantly in The Origins of Totalitarian- 
ism. Thinking, an activity without 
space or time, paradoxically requires 
space and time. Of all the forms of 
political organization that do not per- 
mit freedom, only totalitarianism con- 
sciously seeks to crowd out the ability 
to think. Man cannot be silenced, he 
can only be crowded into not speak- 
ing. Under all other conditions, even 
within the racing noise of our time, 
thinking is possible. 

There are interpretations of history 
in which philosophy occupies the cen- 
tral position in the great changes of 
social and political organization: in 
The Ancient City the nineteenth-cen- 
tury historian Fustel de Coulanges 
wrote of the political metamorphosis 
of Greece: "Then philosophy ap- 
peared, and overthrew all the rules of 
the ancient polity. It was impossible 
to touch the opinions of men without 
also touching the fundamental prin- 
ciples of their government." By philos- 
ophy he means precisely metaphysics, 
which caused the overthrow of gods 
and government, transforming society 
forever. Tyrannical forms of govern- 
ment fall, if not in the progression 
Plato described, certainly in the more 
surprising progressions history de- 



85 



scribes, and surely thinking has been 
the cause of their fall. One cannot 
separate the French Resolution from 
Rousseau, and in a work like Joseph 
Frank's biography of Dostoevski" one 
can read in detail the effects of think- 
ing upon a single man and the society 
in which he lived. 



Arexdt offers another per- 
spective on the use of philos- 
ophy, specifically thinking, in 
her essay on the Eichmann 
trial, a perspective she calls upon again 
in The Life of the Mind: she accuses 
Eichmann of "thoughtlessness." the 
Socratic evil. How, she reasons, could 
a man who thought, who considered 
the meaning of his actions, have done 
Eichmann's work? When Eichmann 
recites a nearly correct version of the 
categorical imperative during his trial, 
Arendt says that if he had thought 
about what he was saying, he would 
have realized that he was asking to 
suffer and be murdered in the same 
way as those millions he processed 
through the death camps. 

Thinking, the disreputable act that 
takes men out of the world of men, 
the circular act. divorced from space 
and time, must then be connected with 
willing: the view of a disjunction in 
the mind must somehow be incorrect. 
Had she lived to complete the final 
section of the book. Judging, she would 
undoubtedly have attempted to write of 
the junction, for she planned to base 
much of that brief final section on 
Kant, who concluded his Critique of 
Judgment by saying that "the concept 
of freedom . . . can extend reason be- 
yond the bounds to which every nat- 
ural or theoretical concept must re- 
main hopelessly restricted." 

The work, as she planned it. began 
with the idea Socrates speaks in the 
Theaetetus: "Wonder is the feeling of 
a philoso: her. and philosophy begins 
in wonder/' It was apparently to have 
ended with the sense of wonder linked 
to the world through freedom. The 
book was to be a work of political 
philosophy — she had not strayed from 
her field — in which metaphysics be- 
came a defense of man for man. 

She did not write for "professional 
thinkers," those who will find fault 
with the section Willing and perhaps 
dispute the very notion of the will as 
a faculty: she wrote for the others. 



for you and me, to enable us to put 
ourselves to that task which has so 
often been labeled sheer nonsense, to 
think. 

Can we be assured in reading philos- 
ophy of thinking correctly, in the sense 
of answering the questions raised by 
either the wonders of man or nature? 
That cannot even be our hope, for our 
concern, as Arendt says, is not with 
truth, but with meaning: and how- 
can we surely know the meaning of 
anything unless we are certain of the 
purpose of man? 

She wrote neither for man the maker 
nor for man the laborer, but for homo 
sapiens : she aimed for the essence. Too 
wise to expect wisdom in herself or in 
anvone else, she worked to make us 



think, for never are we more 
presence of man than when we A 
thinking. No other act is so intenB 
human. Thinking, we are limitleM 
different, yet structurally similar* 
species, free and enabled to live 
peace. As she said, thinking may 
be the surpassing action. That was 
concern and the wish of her work 
invite us to think with her, to do 
losophy; by criticism or agreement 
carry on thinking, the authority 
which we survive in human form, 
read her work and wonder so that 
thinks is neither an act of withdra 
nor infinite regression, it is an act 
freedom, the urgent work of a spe< 
that bears responsibility- for its 
survival. 



NEWS FROM THE SISTERHOOE 



bv Helen Ydesias 



Burning Questions, bv Alix Kates 
Shulman. 364 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. 
$8.95. 

Bad Connections, bv Jovce Johnson. 
262 pages. G. P. Putnam, "$8.95. 

Perdido. bv Jill Robinson. 4-31 pages. 
Alfred A. Knopf, $9.95. 

THERE are intimations that the 
feminist novel may be headed 
for a spot of rough going. It 
is. of course, pushy to speak 
of a "feminist novel'" since not even 
the political feminists have defined 
what that is or isn't: but it's clear that 
such a category exists, not only in the 
feminist concept but in the commercial 
big-book, hard-sell mind — there's a 
large audience out there, feed it. keep 
it buying. Ideally, there should be dis- 
crete novels unattached to movements, 
and passionately opinionated and com- 
passionate reviewers shed of political 
and social prejudices: but exploitation 
of the feminist idea has led to more 
extravagant claims than even a bril- 
liant novel might fulfill, and when 
most fail, unsympathetic critics are 
quick to shout "aggrandizement, spe- 
cial privilege, rotten." 

Helen Yglesias is the author of two novels, 
How She Died and Family Feeling. 



Women writers didn't invent the 
erary scene: they have to make 
with it like everybody else: but 
surely not too much to ask that a w-o: 
an's novel be judged on its own ten 
— under neither the protective com 
of sisterhood nor the barrage of m£ 
condescension | such as Paul Theroir 
incredible comment in these pages th 
housewives used to read books, nc 
they write them j . Fair is fair. 

There is at least one definite stat 
ment applicable to a feminist novel, 
woman is at its dramatic center. Thai 
true of the three books under revie^ 
and in this instance they are also £ 
written bv women. They share also £ 
acutely painful, comic, charged co 



5> 



9Q9i993999 



86 



unique to contemporary 
en and interesting in ways that 
scend the works' individual faults. 
;h to them to learn what's new, to 
what's getting said about women 
the first time this time. There's 
ement and fun in that. 



LIX KATES SHULMAN S news IS 

openly political. Her second 



\ 

novel, launched with a twen- 
-^ty-one gun salute as the first 
n novel of the feminist awakening 
le Sixties and Seventies, is endorsed 
i roster of star figures: Simone de 
ivoir, Erica Jong, Betty Friedan, 
Gould, Tillie Olsen. Kay Boyle, 
lisher's hype or honest reader re- 
lse, it's an impressive list of names ; 
is impressed, and approached the 
k with high expectations, 
lixed signals are picked up im- 
iately. The book's title, Burning 
stions. is a cliche radical phrase 
hints at parody-to-come, rein- 
ed by the novel's tricky format, 
cover says the book is a novel by 
author of Memoirs of an Ex— Prom 
•en, and pages of the usual acknowl- 
ments, permissions, dedications, 
epigraphs follow. But that's fol- 
ed by a new title page, "My Life 
a Rebel,"' by Zane (also called 
e IndiAnna), an unknown pub- 
ier (New Space Press), and addi- 
tal dedications and epigraphs. Are 
then in the territory of artful play- 
iness, Nabokovian juggling with 
titity, an autobiography within a 
el, and the fused and contrapuntal 
ces of stylish fun and games? Noth- 
of the sort. The book within the 
»k is the book. Confused about des- 
ition and carrier, we embark on a 
npy journey, still awaiting a form 
lampoon, an Alix Kates Shulman 
istruct that satirizes and objectifies 
m behind the Zaney personality of 
liAnna. But the device is apparently 
aningless in literary or any other 
ms; it serves as nothing more than 
ditional first-person narration and 
>ved fatal to my trust in the author's 
ce. As a reader I was senselessly 
Dcked off balance. 

Zane IndiAnna conceives of herself 
a woman rebel in the great revolu- 
nary tradition (Rosa Luxembourg, 
ima Goldman, Louise Michel, La 
sionaria), though she sounds quite 
e the ex-Prom Queen. She is deflect- 



ed into the beat scene of the Fifties, 
then into the strangling loss of iden- 
tity imposed by marriage and mother- 
hood; and in the late Sixties and early 
Seventies is reborn through initiation 
into the Third Street Circle, where rad- 
ical feminist activism consists of seiz- 
ing the day by spray-painting death 
to male supremacy on the facade of 
the Harvard Club — and similar acts of 
protest. Along the way, there's sex 
with and without love, marriage in the 
same vein, the obligatory lesbian rela- 
tionship, divorce, and liberation. 

I'm sorry that Ms. Shulman failed 
the stunning subject of her book: a 
woman's passionate commitment to 
political activism. There seems no 
point in discussing detailed missteps. 
The signals continue so hopelessly 
crossed that I didn't know whether to 
laugh, cry, or laugh to keep from cry- 
ing. In a conclusion called "Dialectical 
Epilogue" Zane asks: "If times were 
really ripe for revolution ... do you 
think any self-respecting activist would 
sequester herself in her study for the 
years it takes to write a book? Of 
course not! She would be out pound- 
ing down the palace doors, demanding 



concessions, leaping onto the barri- 
cades!" Any self-respecting novelist 
could only write that as parody. 



Joyce Johnson lights up a corner 
of the same scene, with less am- 
bition and more success. Bad 
Connections sets itself limita- 
tions; it is controlled, smooth, deftly 
written; it evokes scene and character 
with an admirably sure swiftness. But 
the bright, sexy, urbane young editor 
who takes a lover, sheds a husband, 
rears her child, takes another lover 
and sheds both, to end at a point of 
lonely liberation — this is no longer 
news. And it's dispiriting. "Don't tell 
me more,'' was my response; no mat- 
ter how well told, it's too sad to bear. 

Joyce Johnson's touches are all true: 
the husband complains in bed that the 
heroine's legs are too short; the rad- 
ical lover is umbilically tied to a tele- 
phone cradled at his ear, his arrange- 
ments for political meetings punctuat- 
ing and interrupting his lovemaking; 
he's solemn and selfish and a liar 
about his other woman lover. The 
heroine, Molly, has an enchanting lit- 



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Solution to the July Puzzle 

The base word is SUBORDINATELY. 



Notes for "Triskaidekacode'' 



Across: 1. L-awful; 5. sea cow, (p)eac(h) in sow; 9. euphoria, E-anagram of "hair 
up" around O: 1 1. ba(rn o)wl; 12. r(aim)ent; 13. lurch, anagram; 17. errata, anagram; 
18. barium, anagram of air in bum; 20. sear, reversal of Rae's; 21. staminas, ana- 
gram; 22. Almighty, anagram; 23. mako, anagram; 25. female, anagram of feel 
around Ma; 27. heeler, pun; 30. tot-a-L; 31. dolphin, "p" in anagram of in hold; 32. 
whir, homonym; 33. legalist, anagram: 34. Jack-Ed; 35. edenic, reversal of cine-de. 
Down: 1. Xer-xes, reversal; 2. quarreled, anagram; 3. epigrammatic, c(it)ame reversed 
around pig-ram; 4. fo(X)es; 5. sitz(anagram )-bat-H.S.; 6. abul, reversal: 7. Cardinals- 
hip; 8. e-xotic, anagram; 10. alga, hidden; 14. Mari(Juan)a; 15. fat-headed; 16. Quak- 
erism, anagram; 19. rimed, homonym; 22. (E)qua(l)-(o)ver(t); 24. or-an-.ts, rever- 
sal; 26. loll(ipop); 28. lark, two meanings; 29. Fla.-(Par)k(way). 



87 



BOOKS 



tie son — done perfectly, as is the older 
lover who inevitably commits himself 
to a nubile flower-child after announc- 
ing to Molly that he's a man who pre- 
fers not getting "involved." Molly is 
raped, on the West Coast, by a black 
man who performs so weakly he dis- 
gusts himself. "I can't do nothing," 
he says before he wipes himself on the 
sheet, zips up, and leaves her lying on 
the bed, slowly becoming aware that 
her belly is cold and that "her life will 
go on and on. On and on." 

Too sad, too dreary, too sad for 
words — no matter how carefully Joyce 
Johnson has chosen them, one by one. 

With Perdido we're clear- 
ly into a good story — 
the first aim of a novel. 
Hyped as an authentic 
Hollywood novel, Perdido's interest 
lies not there but in the depiction of 
the female as outsider. The Hollywood 
Child at its center gleans no more in- 
side knowledge of the dream factory 
than any fifteen-year-old Middle-Amer- 
ican kid bewitched in a movie house, 
in spite of the fact that Jill Robinson 



is an authentic Hollywood Child, the 
daughter of a former Hollywood pro- 
ducer. 

Perdido is a Hollywood mansion, 
home of the fifteen-year-old Susanna 
Howard's movie mogul family, whose 
dynasty is disintegrating under the 
blacklist and television. We are intro- 
duced to the child swooning for the 
attention of a Hollywood star, Jack- 
son Lane, in a dawdling opening scene 
that gains power only in our retrospec- 
tive knowledge that the star she sex- 
ually idolizes is her father, whom she 
believed to be a respectably dead Jew- 
ish doctor. Illegitimacy haunts her; 
the need to burst directly into the 
heart of the dream, the lust to get her 
arms around it and her father as the 
embodiment of dream, sends her rac- 
ing up and down the country tracking 
him. Ten years later she embraces him 
in a finish which is pure Hollvwood 
hokum that damages but doesn't de- 
stroy the pattern of the book. 

Jill Robinson lets her language run 
free — mostly to good effect, sometimes 
to bad: she does the best sexual fan- 
tasies being written; and she creates 
an aura of feeling around her charac- 



ters that we pursue with love am 
terest. It's fantasy-land, agreed. I 
novel is misnamed. Fantasia is r 
like it.) Toward the end, Susanna 
plodes at an Easterner putting d 
Hollywood. 

You're just mad that yo 
weren't here to get the good 01 
of it. . . . I want the magic shou 
and the razzle-dazzle and real mo\ 
ie stars. I want it to be not cyi 
ical. . . . People had fun with mor. 
ey and fame and I don't want t 
confuse art with Hollywood. . . . 

She also longs to become "b 
and tough," but the two won't rr 
Bed /Time /Story, her previous n< 
was truer, harsher, and enriched I 
male character with whom one idt 
fied and suffered — a rarity in worn 
books. 

And so I return to "women's boo 
when I should be monitoring c 
novels, good or bad. But a specific 
terest is involved, which, successf 
or not, these three works seriously 
out to meet and to enhance. I was v 
glad to read them as a way of stay 
in touch with the sensibility they i 
resent. 



BOOKS IN BRIEF 



The Private War of Dr. Yamada, 

by Lee Ruttle. 288 pages. San Francisco 
Book Company, $8.95. 

In September of 1944, as the war 
shifted irreversibly against the Jap- 
anese, those holding the tiny island of 
Peleliu entrenched themselves in a 
network of fortified underground caves 
to repel the invading American forces 
or fight to the end. In one cf the most 
ferocious battk: of the South Pacific, 
they held out for seventy-two days 
against the inevitable: defeat and hara- 
kiri. 

Though set mainly in the stale air 
and claustrophobia of an under- 
ground operating room crammed with 
wounded and dying, The Private War 
of Dr. Yamada has as its outstanding 
quality a lucent spaciousness. Written 
as a diary kept by Lt. Col. Hiroshi 



Yamada, the dedicated and overworked 
division surgeon, the novel continu- 
ally opens out from the cave onto the 
broad landscape of Dr. Yamada's be- 
loved Nihon (Japan). In a spare, 
shimmering prose, Yamada describes 
scenes from his past in which he 
brings to life the exquisitely civilized 
traditions of his homeland — traditions 
he cannot help but compare to an- 
other Nihon tradition, the feudal 
Samurai code whose honor-bound 
prolongation of a lost battle is respon- 
sible for the carnage mounting around 
his operating table. 

In his diary. Yamada condemns "the 
most diabolical enemy of mankind, 
war." Questioned and humiliated by 
his superiors, who suspect him of 
treasonous sentiments, he feels his in- 
ner struggles growing: should he en- 
courage the patched-up wounded to 



surrender on their return to the m 
sacre? Should he himself, if he s 
vives, surrender at the end? Does 
duty lie with the traditional honor 
hara-kiri, or with his family and 
postwar Nihon? 

Given the blood and stifling air a 
hopelessness surrounding Dr. Yamad 
private war, a lesser novelist mi§ 
have deadened our sensibilities w 
their overuse; but Lee Ruttle's tone 
formal, reserved; the horrors, wh 
he touches on them, sbce through wi 
unblunted keenness. His portraits 
common soldiers, officers of the S 
murai class, even the hungry rat \ 
mada befriends, are all illumined 
a few keen, masterful strokes. It is 
mark of Ruttle's understanding 
Japanese culture that as a foreign 
(and one, ironically enough, who p£ 
ticipated in the invasion of Peleliu 



88 



amphibian tank gunner) he pre- 
is a chronicle that is never once 
ight of by the reader as having been 
ten by anyone but Dr. Hiroshi Ya- 
ia of the Japanese Imperial Army, 
nd it is a mark of Ruttle's artistry- 
he has managed to create a good 
humanitarian character without 
:ing him a bore — the usual and 
derable fate of those who side with 
angels. — E. L. 

• Magic Journey, by John Nich- 
529 pages. Holt, Rinehart, Win- 
$11.95: paper, $7.95. 

'he same sort of players and polit- 
conflicts that John Nichols found 
;ess with in his previous book, The 
igro Bean field War, take the stage 
this, his fourth novel. While the 
of the country enters the Depres- 
K the Southwestern town of Chami- 
ille prospers. An industrious con 
i bedazzles the town's Pueblo farm- 
with his garish version of the Amer- 
l dream, and soon speculators, de- 
fers, politicians — the usual crowd 
:ashers-in — have weaned the locals 
ly from a land-based economy to 
almighty greenback and introduced 
n to the marvels of installment 
ns. menial labor, and debt. By the 
e the older Pueblo get around to 
ively protesting, they've lost their 
Idren, their culture, their farms to 
maw of red-blooded, white-skinned 
italism. A few radicals are martyred 
such interested parties as the Mafia 
I the federal government, and Cha- 
iaville. resplendent with shopping 
ters and fast-food franchises, hotels 
1 country clubs, continues to as- 
ne the inevitable lamina of twen- 
h-century America. 
Phe Magic Journey is a plausible 
ton of exploitation, lush with ec- 
itric characters, with myths, legends, 
>sts, and revealing shards from the 
;t four decades, all carried by a 
:kensian narrative exuberance. But 
I novel is a little too much of a 
ichness in light of its sober message, 
dike The Milagro Beanfield War, in 
ich humor and absurdity prevailed, 
s work asks to be taken seriously, 
rgests justifiably and angrily that 
: Pueblo's loss is America's as well, 
t Nichols's creative energy runs so 
en to comic invention, to caricature 
itead of character, to spates of bathos 
d discursive high jinks, that he en- 



tertains far more than he instructs, to 
use the classic formula; the imbalance 
makes for ambivalence. — J. B. 

Mara, by Tova Reich. 250 pages. Far- 
rar, Straus & Giroux. $8.95. 

It is evident from the very first page 
of Mara that an extraordinary energy 
is at work. The opening scene, an Or- 
thodox wedding uniting Mara, a Jewish 
girl from Riverside Drive, with a 
hippie from Israel whom everyone 
distrusts, floats up into life with an 
unmistakable and spontaneous buoy- 
ancy. The music, the feasting, the ec- 
static dancing among the men and 
among the women, the chorus of guests 
ranging from bribable state senators 
to honest Delancey Street beggars — all 
this is observed with an almost Tol- 
stoyan joyfulness that can bend an 
eye in seemingly any direction and 
find some marvelous detail to record, 
some marijuana toke to render in full 
fidelity, some bit of Yiddish chatter 
to take down in perfect inflection. 

What is surprising about this en- 
ergy is that the joyfulness goes only- 
skin deep: the bone beneath it is 
vengeful and bitter, even venomous. 
The anger focuses on Mara's Daddy, 
the Rabbi Leon Lieb. whom Tova 
Reich portrays as no mere patriarchal 
tyrant but as a figure of genuine evil. 
Leon brings to mind Bernard Bergman, 
the real-life Orthodox rabbi who came 
to public attention when he was ex- 
posed for having extracted an illegal 
fortune from his string of vile New 
York nursing homes, which is to say 
that, Rabbi Leon Lieb is a dead ringer 
for the worst kind of anti-Semitic cari- 
cature. 

The loathing and revulsion that 
Reich brings to this figure ups the 
ante considerably on what otherwise 
would be Mara's unremarkable post- 
adolescent rebellion. What might have 
kept modestly to the scale of family 
drama expands into a municipal scan- 
dal, with Daddy justlv reviled on the 
radio as the enemy of mankind. 'A hal 
might have been merely a turning- 
away from Daddy's Orthodoxy begins 
Ella Leffland. author of Mrs. Munck and 
Love Out of Season, is working on her third 
novel, entitled Rumors of Peace. Jeffrey Burke 
is copy editor of Harper's. Paul Berman con- 
tributes to a number of national magazines. 
Charles Nicol is an associate professor of 
English at Indiana State University. Suzanne 
Mantel! is executive editor of Harper's. 



to appear like an ambivalence toward 
Jewishness itself. Indeed, what might 
otherwise have been a conventional 
Jewish Princess tale grows into some- 
thing far more ambiguous and resof- 
nant, a troubling and occasionally 
even a vicious novel, but certainly a 
powerful one. — P. B. 

Collected Works of Edgar Allan 
Poe: Tales and Sketches, edited by 
Thomas Ollive Mabbott. Two volumes, 
1,451 pages. Belknap/ Harvard, $45. 

After God created the magazine, he 
created the short story to put in it. 
During the 1830s and 1840s two young 
Americans, Nathaniel Hawthorne and 
Edgar Allan Poe, brought the new 
form to a startling, lean perfection. 
Hawthorne's art was lonely and aus- 
tere, Poe's theatrical and popular; be- 
yond shared genius, no two men could 
have been more different or written 
stories more dissimilar. 

Poe modeled his stories after the 
sensational fiction he read in the Brit- 
ish magazines, improving it in psy- 
chology, economy, and style. He per- 
fected the sensational, first-person nar- 
ration, heightening and deranging the 
sensibility of his storytellers by torture, 
lack of food and water, grief, guilt, 
illness, anger, exhaustion, frustration, 
simple madness, drugs, alcohol, catas- 
trophe. He discovered the subtle ad- 
vantages of the uninvolved narrator 
and used the technique to invent the 
detective story. And he wrote comic 
stories parodying all these techniques. 
He could switch from formal essay to 
confession of murder ("The Imp of 
the Perverse") and from impersonal 
reportage to first-person horror story 
to healthy satire ("The Premature Bur- 
ial" I . 

In " William Wilson." one of the 
great doppelganger stories of world lit- 
erature. Poe splits his hero's self into 
two halves, the will and the conscience; 
eventually will kills conscience, doom- 
ing Wilson to a life of unrelieved 
licentiousness. Thomas Ollive Mabbott's 
new, massive edition of the tales points 
out that the idea for this story came 
from Byron and had been elaborated 
by Washington Irving; surely its By- 
ronic origins gave Poe the idea of 
inserting into the story a number of 
personal allusions. Since Mabbott's edi- 
tion will be the final authority on Poe's 
texts for a long time, it is unfortunate 



89 



BOOKS 



that he chose to give Wilson an 1811 
birthdate and relegate 1809, the date 
given in an earlier version, to the 
notes. Poe's obvious intention was for 
Wilson's birth to correspond to his 
own, and he assigned Wilson the later 
year only because he was trying to 
foist it off on the Reverend Rufus Gris- 
wold, his literary executor, as his own. 

Mabbott's texts are usually accurate, 
and even when, as here, he is over- 
cautious, the alternative readings are 
also printed. The deepest impression 
left by this scholarly edition is of how 
carefully and how often Poe revised 
his work. In each new printing he 
changed a few words; sometimes he 
rewrote a weak story altogether and 
made it longer, but usually each new 
printing would shorten it a sentence or 
two, excising unnecessary passages. 

Mabbott died ten years ago. If, as 
the dust jacket assures us, he had all 
but completed his work on these vol- 
umes, why did it take such an incred- 
ibly long time to tidy up the odds and 
ends? WTiat we have is well-bound, 
durable, attractive, and published by 
Harvard, and comes close to represent- 
ing the current state of scholarship, but 
it isn't perfect. For instance, this col- 
lection is intended to be chronological 
so the reader may watch the develop- 
ment of Poe's style, yet two of the sto- 
ries, "Morella" and "King Pest," are, 
according to Mabbott's own evidence, 
printed in the wrong order. 

On the whole, though, Mabbott's ed- 
ition is a fine monument to everybody, 
even if Harvard never gets it completed. 
His judgment is usually authoritative 
and sound, especially when summariz- 
ing the work various scholars have 
done on finding sources for Poe's sto- 
ries. Among Poe's mother's friends were 
an Lsher family, whose son and daugh- 
ter grew up neurotic orphans; Poe 
knew two men named William Wilson. 
Mabbott quietly lists such information: 
he knows it is interesting but ultimate- 
ly irrelevant. Poe's was a terror not of 
the scholar, but of the soul. — C.N. 

Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, by 

A. Scott Berg. 488 pages, illustrated. 
E.P. Dutton, $15. 

Max. or Perkins, as he is alternately 
called by A. Scott Berg in this full- 
scale biography that hovers uneasily 
in style between sophisticated doctoral 
dissertation and watery soap opera, 



might have read Berg's manuscript, 
mustered those editorial skills — pa- 
tience, optimism, and tact — that he 
possessed in such abundance, and 
dashed off an early response: "Biog. 
splendid. Spirit of an era well cap- 
tured." To which, several days later, 
he would have added something more 
thoroughly spelled out, though no less 
tactful and optimistic. Something like: 
"In trying to present a book about 
publishing and the role of editor to a 
public that knows little and cares less, 
you have shouldered a mighty large 
task. You have had to concern your- 
self not only with my life, but with the 
wondrous lives of my authors, and 
then weave their stories into my own. 
Your success in doing this is revealed 
by how fastidiously you chronicle the 
careers of Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest 
Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe: thev 
are more famous than I, and they 
rightfully deserve a larger part in the 
drama. 

"I am gratified how, as a result of 
this, my own life gets far less em- 
phasis than do theirs. In a way, my 
relief at discovering that Charles 
Scribner's, my fellow editors there, and 
most of all my writers figured just as 
significantly as I, if not more so, was 
less than complete only because of the 
book's title. I fear that others will 
have their expectations thrown mo- 
mentarily" askew by it, and then let 
this fact interfere with the pleasures 
and insights and portraits so amply 
given forth. Do think about this and 
see if you find any merit in it at all. 
Do also check the pages near the end 
when everyone's ill and grieving. At 
this point, in your supreme concentra- 
tion on drama, you have my dear 
friends and authors dying off in great 
numbers, and nearly all at once; I'm 
afraid such condensation may serve 
to distress the reader who has grown 
attached to the people in my life. As 
to that life of mine, you have depicted 
me throughout as a rock on which 
others lean, and you continually over- 
look my vulnerabilities, but in my 
view this is not a poor thing to have 
done, even though it discomfits me to 
be so regarded, because the audience 
that will read the book has few people 
to whom it can look up. and you have 
given those readers such a person. 
Thev may doubt that any man can be 
as selfless as you make me out to be. 
but you provide so many excerpts from 



notes and letters that they will 11 
in the course of the book to trust J 
to have done the best job you kl 
how. 

"You don't give much play to \1 
I said once in all honesty to Male! 
Cowley, that we editors get credit! 
discovering books when we meE 
read manuscripts, but by now you M 
your own experiences behind you, 
you may well see the editor-au 
relationship in a different light. Ti 
have changed, I know." 

Maxwell Perkins died, exhau 
and pneumonic, in 1947. at the agi 
sixty-three. — J 

The Death of Woman Wang, 

Jonathan D. Spence. 169 pages. Vik 
$10.95. 

Jonathan Spence has revealed m 
about ordinary life in seventeenth-c 
tury China: how poor peasants fa 
under conditions of flood, famine, 
custs, earthquakes, wars, bandit ra 
and heretical uprisings: how dispi 
were resolved; how bad guys w 
rounded up. He has unearthed in! 
mation on the problem of suicide < 
demies during periods of especial n 
ery, and he has found interest] 
things to say about lovers' quan 
and the status of marriage. But I s 
pect that Spence's great achievement 
to have revealed something about 
literary possibilities of historical sch 
arship. 

Everything about the book refle 
the influence of literary models: t 
author's willingness to illumine t 
whole through careful perception 
the parts, beginning with the ostensil 
topic — a handful of personal crises < 
fecting a tinv number of peasant fan 
lies in an obscure county of Shantui 
Province: his method of analys 
which is close critical scrutiny of 
verv few historical texts: his readine 
to reconstruct intuitively what mig 
have happened: his resort to a fra 
mented and sometimes lyrical nan 
tive. Once upon a time, of course, h: 
tory was considered a proper bran 
of literature, so none of this ought 
be new. But that was long ago, and 
is new now. so new. in fact, th 
Spence's literary experimentalism cou 
reasonably be said to constitute ; 
avant-sarde in the stodgv field of h: 

tory. —P. 

harper's/august 19 



90 



Why a New 
Man's Magazine Now? 




1 9NEY How to get more and keep 
re: Andrew Tobixs and Dan Dorfman 
rig a wealth of knowledge to this field 
1 tell you how. 




| kNGUAGE The Queens English 
I iot in style, but John Simon will keep 
i informed on what is and is not the 



>per tongue. 




3LITICS Richard Reeves and 
on Latham, operating out of 
shington, cover emerging events and 
•sonalities on the political scene, 
ional and international. 




WAf Steven Brill will provide you 
th a charting of the wherefores and 
retofores and will let you know what's 
w, what's changing. 




*ORT$ Who's making the moves 
d who's blocking: Roy Blount Jr. and 
ilipTaubman will help you keep score. 




ODY While attending to the mind, 
quire will not neglect the body: we'll 
il you how to get and stay in shape. 



CUM 



ASHION Max Evans covers the 
essing up and dressing down of the 
>hion world with an eye to the 
actical and wearable. 



ecause- until now- there hasn't been 
one. That's why. The new Esquire 
Fortnightly is the literate, sophisticated, 
and useful magazine for the new 
American man, published at a time when 
no other such magazine exists and when 
the American man has greater need of it 
than ever before. It will address itself 
more directly to the vital concerns of 
today's American man — the man who 
finds there is a new way to measure 
success, the man who wants more out of 
life. Men still want to make money and 
earn the respect and admiration of the 
world. They still like beautiful women 
and sleek cars, but they no longer 
measure success primarily by the outward 
symbols of arrival and privilege. Now 
success is measured by self-development, 
by the richness of life itself, both outward 
and inward, professional and personal, 
physical, intellectual, and spiritual. 

The new fortnightly Esquire will 
explore new dimensions of success and 
will try to give some friendly, solid advice 
to men — to offer some blueprints for the 
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AMERICAN MISCELLANY 



LOST 



Tales from the north country 



by John Hai 



Now AND then people disap- 
pear in the Far North and are 
never heard from again. Var- 
ious reasons: lost, drowned, 
or frozen to death. It was common 
enough once, when so many were 
traveling the country on foot, and 
often alone. Yet in recent memory 
whole planeloads of people have 
dropped out of sight, the fuselage with 
its frozen bodies found years later in 
a snowdrift on a remote mountainside. 
Just yesterday, a flight bound south 
out of Anchorage vanished with its 
crew and government passengers in a 
storm over the gulf. 

I remember one spring morning a 
team of men came down the road at 
Richardson. We watched them as they 
searched the roadside thickets and 
probed the snowdrifts with poles. They 
were looking for an old. woman who 
had left her house near Big Delta a 
few evenings before, and had not come 
back. Family and neighbors thought 
she may have walked in her half-sleep 
into the nearby river and sunk like a 
stone. But they couldn't be sure, and 
so they were looking. 

And there was the fellow who dis- 
appeared from his Quartz Lake trap- 
line a few winters back. Said to be a 
little strange in his head and mis- 
trustful of people, he had been long 
absent in the bush when a search was 
begun by his brother and the police. 
Though the country was flown over 
and searched for weeks, he, too, was 
never found alive. But two or three 
years later someone hunting in the 
backcountry came upon a pair of leg- 
bones, and some scraps of blue wool 
cloth with metal buttons. Most of the 
bones had been carried off by animals, 
and it was impossible by then to say 

John Haines lived in Alaska for fifteen years 
and now lives in Montana. His most recent 
book of poetry is Cicada (Wesleyan Univer- 
sity Press). 



who it was or what had happened. 

There are people lost in more ways 
than one. Nothing so lonely as some- 
one lost in the confusion of his life, 
and with no certain path. Like the 
man named Abramson we knew of, 
active for a while in the Birch Lake 
area, many years ago. Despondent 
over something or other, he walked 
away from camp one late winter day 
and did not come back. No one fol- 
lowed him then, but he was found 
eventually in an old cabin up on one 
of the Salcha River tributaries; he 
had cut both his wrists, and bled to 
death lying in a makeshift bunk. 

I was told once of the end of a man 
whose name will have to be Hanson, 
since I cannot remember his real 
name. He drove mail by dogsled in 
an early day, out of Fairbanks, and 
up the Tanana beyond Big Delta. It 
was terribly cold one January day 
when he stopped at Delta on his way 
upriver — sixty below, toward the end 
of a long spell. He was urged not to 
continue then, but to stay at the road- 
house and wait for a promised break 
in the weather. An experienced man, 
he decided to go on. He was well 
dressed for it, and carried a good robe 
on his sled. But his dogs whined in 
the foggy, windless cold, and would 
rather have stayed. 

A few days later his dogs came 
back, dragging the sled behind them, 
but without Hanson. Something had 
gone wrong, and they had run off and 
left him. The cold had broken some- 
what by then, and men went out, fol- 
lowing the sled trail back upriver. 
Some thirty miles on they found 
Hanson crouched beside a stack of 



driftwood, his arms folded on 
chest, and his head down. At his 
were the charred makings of a 
that had never caught. 

Though I have never been lost 
the woods, I have known that 
mentary confusion when a stra 
trail divided or thinned out be 
me, and I have stopped there on a 
side in the wind-matted buckb 
and willows, wondering which of 
many possible roads I ought to 
I have come home late through 
woods at night, and missed my 
underfoot, to stand undecided, lisl 
ing for something in the darkness: 
wind moving aloft in the trees, 
sound of a dry leaf skittering over 
snowcrust, or the sudden crashing 
an animal disturbed. 

Fred Campbell told me once 
being shut in by fog on Buckeye Do 
one fall day, a fog so thick he cc 
not see the ground at his feet. He 
all sense of place and time, 
wandered that day in an endless 
insubstantial whiteness. It seemed 
him at times that he was not walk 
on earth, but was stranded in a s 
cloud, far from anything he co 
touch or know. Toward evening 
sun burned a hole in the mist, and 
found his way down into famil 
woods again. 

That lostness and sinking of thin 
so close to the ordinariness of < 
lives. I was mending my salmon 
one summer afternoon, leaning o 
the side of my boat in a broad ec 
near the mouth of Tenderfoot. I 1 
drawn the net partway over the g 
wale to work on it, when a str< 
surge in the current pulled the mes 



* 

7 



94 



111 my hand. As I reached down to 
isp the net again, I somehow lost 
Id of my knife, and watched half- 
kened as it slipped from my hand 
d sank out of sight in the restless, 
I thing water. 

Poling upriver in the fall, maneuver- 
' the nose of my boat through the 
ck, freezing water; or wading over 
nes and gravel in the shallowing 
rrent. while the boat tugged behind 
• at the end of a doubled rope. Or 
ain, as I floated down on the tur- 
lent summer water, swinging my 
rs in response to the driftpiles loom- 
; swiftly ahead. How easily I might 
spilled and swept under; my boat 
be found one day lodged in drift- 
ed, an oar washed up on the sand, 
d myself a sack weighted with silt, 
ning in an eddy, 
i A drowsy, half-wakeful menace waits 
I r us in the quietness of this world, 
bave felt it near me while kneeling 
I the snow, minding a trap on a ridge 
i my miles from home. There, in the 
I Id that gripped my face, in the low, 
je light failing around me, and the 
ort day ending. In those familiar 
d friendly shadows, I was suddenly 
rare of something that did not care 
I lived. Or as it may be, running 
e river ice in midwinter: under the 
;d runners a sudden cracking and 
ickling that scared the dogs and sent 
y heart racing. How swiftly the solid 
>ttom of one's life can go. 
Disappearances, apparitions ; few 
ues, or none at all. Mostly it isn't 
urder, a punishable crime, the peo- 
e just vanish. They go away, in sor- 
•w, in pain, in mute astonishment, as 
something decided forever. But 
'metimes you can't be sure, and a 
ing will happen that remains so 
iresolved, so strange, that someone 
ill think of it years later; and he 
ill sit there in the dusk and silence, 
aring out the window at another 
orld. 



The sack of bones 



[heard this story from Hans Sep- 
pala late one summer evening. We 
were sitting in his cabin at Shaw 
Creek, drinking coffee, smoking 
nd talking. A few mosquitoes sailed 
bout the room, half-stunned by the 
moke. Out the open door of the cabin, 
1 the midnight dusk, we could hear 



the creek flowing by, but with hardly 
a sound in its slow, brown current. 
The landscape held that unusual quiet, 
when for an hour or so, before the 
sun lights up the hills again, the life 
of the arctic summer is stilled, and 
few birds sing. 

Hans had his fund of stories, which 
he told with particular emphasis in 
his own kind of English, generous 
with obscenities, and half-formed on 
the syntax of his native Finn. Like 
most of the old people 1 knew, he told 
many of the same stories over and 
over, hardly changing the details, and 
laughing gleefully in the same places. 
Most of his stories were about people 
we both knew, or someone who had 
once lived in the area but was now 
gone. Some figure of whom he might 
say something playful or outrageous. 
But this story was different; he told 
it once, and I never heard it again. 



ONE FALL BACK in the 1930s, a 
man named Martin came to 
trap on Shaw Creek flats, east 
of Richardson. He found a 
vacant cabin a few miles up the creek, 
and moved into it with his axe, his 
traps, and what few other things he 
owned. Snow came, and he was soon 
active running some of the old, 
brushed-in trails that went far back 
in the flats and into the hills rising 
north and west. 

Now it happened that Fred Camp- 
bell and Emory Hirshberger had a 
trapping partnership at the time, and 
they included Shaw Creek in their 
territory, as most people knew. When 
they got wind of Martin in the area 
they were a little put out. They went 
to see him one day early in November, 
and explained that they were first on 
the ground, and how would it be if 
he went somewhere else. No one who 
meant well intruded on another's trap- 
line as he was doing. But Martin was 
a tough and ornery man, and would 
not listen. It did not matter to him 
that they had trapped there before; 
no one owned that land, and he had 
as much right to be there as anyone. 
They could go to hell. 

There was an angry exchange be- 
tween them, some hard words were 
spoken. Campbell and Hirsh left, 
Campbell muttering and Hirsh tight- 
lipped. The more they thought about 
Martin the angrier they got. They were 



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95 



AMERICAN MISCELLANY 

ready men, each of them prone to go 
his own road and say nothing. But 
one of them was heard to say that 
they would take care of Martin in 
their own way: "Dead men tell no 
tales." 

The following spring an acquaint- 
ance of Martin's named Wade came 
down from Fairbanks to see him. He 
walked the hard-packed snowshoe trail 
in from the road. It was early in a 
March evening: the cold had broken, 
and a warm wind was blowing through 
the spruce forest. 

Wade found the cabin door open 
when he arrived at Martin's camp. No 
one seemed to be at home. From a 
rusty stovepipe stuck at an angle 
through the sod roof, smoke drifted 
down and thinned among the trees. He 
went into the cabin and looked around. 
Martin was not a particularly clean 
man: the cabin smelled of skins, of 
old'and unwashed clothing, and smoke. 
Four or five fox and lynx pelts were 
drying on stretchers in a corner away 
from the heat. A supper of beans and 
meat lay on the table, half-eaten, and 
the stove was still warm with its 
smoldering wood. 

Searching around the camp area in 
the fading light, \^ ade could find no 
immediate trace of Martin, but foot- 
trails going off into the snow-filled 
woods in several directions. He called 
several times, but got no answer. 

He waited until it was nearly dark, 
then wrote a note and left it on the 
table. He closed the cabin door, and 
walked back through the dim woods 
to the road. He casually asked at the 
house of some people living nearby 
on the river if anyone had seen Mar- 
tin lately. No one had, but no one 
thought much of that at the time. 

The weeks went by. The sun climbed 
higher: snow came again, and melted, 
and still Martin was not seen. Another 
visitor to his cabin found Wade's note 
on the table, and nothing apparently 
changed. The word went around be- 
tween Richardson and Delta. A search 
was begun in the frozen swamps along 
Shaw Creek, and in the woods around 
Martin's camp. No clues were found. 

Summer came, the ice went out of 
Shaw Creek with a roar one midnight, 
and soon after that the Tanana ice 
moved downriver. The small cabin in 
the spruce flats was closed up by a 
marshal from Fairbanks, and the man 
named Martin was never seen again. 



Hans stopped talking. He reached 
for his papers and tobacco, and began 
rolling another cigarette. 

"Did you know Martin yourself?" 
I asked him. 

"Veil, I know Tiim a little, but I 
wasn't around the Shaw Creek very 
much in them days." 

He licked the paper, smoothed it, 
and struck a match. Staring out the 
window, he drew on the cigarette, and 
sent a cloud of smoke into the dusky 
room. 

"So, anyvay . . ." And he went on 
with his story. 

Several years went by. and 
Martin had almost been forgot- 
ten. Late in a spring evening 
Hans came across the Tanana 
ice with his dogs, a few miles down- 
river from the mouth of Shaw Creek. 
It was nearly breakup time, warm in 
the day, but piercing cold at night. 
\^ ater had flowed over the ice in places, 
and frozen again in a thin, perilous 
sheet. Coming late in the near dark- 
ness, Hans and his dogs broke through 
the ice into knee-deep water. 

Steaming and cursing, he pulled 
himself, his dogs and sled, onto firm 
ice. Then, tangled and wet. they ran 
for a nearby island. There Hans built 
a fire from driftwood, and set up camp 
to dry out. 

It froze hard that night: the new 
ice cracked and whistled, and the stars 
glittered in the brief spring darkness. 
Hans lay wrapped in his damp bedroll, 
hardly able to sleep for the cold. 

The next morning he was up early, 
stiff, but eager to be on his way again. 
He looked around him. Snow had blown 
away from much of the island in the 
winter gales, and what remained lay 
packed in thin, hard drifts, snow and 
ice mingled together. Here and there 
stones, pieces of driftwood, small wil- 
lows, and clumps of grass stood up 
from it. 

"So. I getting up that morning, still 
half wet. Clothes, they frozen. The 
dogs, they hungry, but I got nothing 
to feed them. I look for a little dry 
wood, to make a fire and have a cup 
of coffee. And then, by God, I find 
something in the driftwood!" 

Wedged partway into a large pile of 
driftwood was an odd bundle of canvas 
and poles wrapped round with heavy 
wire. Curious now. Hans pulled at the 



bundle and saw something that Took 
like the rounded and bleached joii 
end of a bone sticking out from t 
rotted fabric. He looked closer, pulL 
at the bone, and saw that another car 
with it. 

"What the Jesus Christ is this? 
say to myself. I look at them bone 
they not the moose bones, thev n 
heavy enough. I hold one up to n 
leg, and another one to my arm. Ai 
by God. they look like the hum£ 
bones!" 

The bundle was half-filled with fr 
zen sand and small stones. Searchii 
in it as well as he could. Hans four 
other pieces of bone: a rib. and i 
armbone. What looked like a shoulde 
blade was showing from the frozt 
debris packed into the bundle. B 
there w as no skull. 

The bundle would not come free ( 
the frozen driftwood, and when 1 
pulled at it the canvas tore. But Hai 
could see that two bleached poles n 
either side the length of it. And 1 
saw that it might have been made i 
a kind of stretcher, the whole thin 
fastened together with some pieces c 
common telegraph wire, wound an 
twisted tightly on the poles. 

Hans realized he had found som 
thing important, but he was not sui 
what it was. There was nothing t 
identify a human body, other than th 
few bones, and the way it was all pi 
together. He stopped there, unsure < 
what to do. The sun was climbing, h 
wanted to have his coffee and be o 
his way. He thought of chopping th 
bundle free of the wood and ice, an 
taking it on his sled. But that woul 
take time, and his sled was alread 
full. He decided to leave the bundl 
where it was. and tell people at Ricl 
ardson what he had found. 

He replaced the bones in the sac 
more or less as he had found then 
He gathered wood, made a small fin 
and drank his coffee. He packed hi 
sled, laid out the stiff harness, an 
then with the dogs yelping and pul 
ing hard for home, he struck out ove 
the ice tow ard Richardson. 

Much later in the day. when he ha 
unloaded his sled and fed his dogj 
Hans walked to the roadhouse. Drink 
ing his first beer in many weeks, h 
talked to Knute Johanson. who in hi 
aging, unbusinesslike, and bad-ten: 
pered way. still kept the trade going 
Hans told him what he had found. 



96 



lute immediately showed interest, 
i!" he exclaimed, "By God, Hans, 
should have brought one of the 
5 back with you! What did dey 
i like?" 

id Hans told him, in what detail 
mid, while Knute peered at him. 
larrow eyes screwed up in his 
;ly face. In both their minds by 
was the disappearance of Martin 

years before. Knute. suspicious 
ways, already convinced that they 

Martin s bones, though how they 
here on that island neither he nor 
i was prepared to say. 
ley talked, and the questions came 
ey did so. Had anyone else disap- 
;d in the past three or four years? 
t else could that sack of bones be? 
why would anyone truss up a sack 
limal bones that way? 
ins was to return across river in 
y or so. and w hen he did he w ould 
I back the entire bundle on his 
That was agreed. No. perhaps it 
d be better to bring back one of 
bones, rather than disturb the 
e thing. But mark the island for 

so we can find it again. And 
i better go soon, the river will 
n to open in a few days if the sun- 
holds. 



IKE ALL YOUNG RIVERS, the 

Tanana does strange and un- 
predictable things. Its chan- 
^ nels shift from summer to 
mer, and each high water changes 
cold, grey face of the riverbed, 
year a small island will stand 
i in mid-channel, shaggy with its 
)ws and young cottonwoods seeded 
he wind, or planted there by what 
water brings down. And the next 
that island is gone, its young 
vth toppled and swept under by 
summer flood. Or the spring ice 
ds to make a dam; the river backs 
ind floods the countryside. Ice floes 
; into town, cabins come loose 
i their moorings. The ice dam 
iks, and the river falls, running 
ly with its chunks of rotten ice, 
I carcasses, lost boats, and trash, 
ans stayed at Richardson one day 
long, visiting and drinking, cut- 
wood and getting ready for the 
mer. On an evening before he was 
go back across river, a channel 
ned up on the north side. There 
no way across; his boat was at 



Clear Creek, several miles off on the 
far side of the river. He would have 
to wait. Nearly three weeks went by 
before he caught a ride upriver with 
a man going to Clear Creek for the 
early summer fishing. 

"So, we going up the river in that 
big powerboat. The river running pret- 
ty swift, lots of ice and plenty of drift- 
wood coming down. I watch for that 
island, and I think I see him. So when 
I come back down the river in my own 
boat. I stop there, and I look. It look 
to me like the same place, but I can't 
be sure." 

Part of the island seemed to be as 
he remembered it when it was locked 
in ice, but the big raft of driftwood 
with its rotting sack of bones was gone. 
Where it might have been, some young 
cottonwoods leaned out over the wa- 
ter, their roots exposed in the shallow' 
soil cut away by the current. 

"Oh, that Hans!" said Sandra, the 
cook at Richardson, some time later. "It 
was probably something he dreamed 
up while he was drunk. You can't be- 
lieve what he says." 

And who could say, really, what it 
had been? It might have been Martin. 
And it was easy enough to imagine 
the circumstances, the accumulating 
resentment that came to a decision: 
Martin surprised one afternoon by two 
others who called him out of his cab- 
in, and killed him with a gun or an 
axe. They carried him away, trussed 
his body in a sack weighted with 
stones, and sank him in an open chan- 
nel late at night. It wouldn't have been 
hard to do, there were few people 
along the river in those days. But no 
one would ever know for sure; no one 
else was talking, and the Tanana kept 
its secrets. 

We sat there thinking about this 
strange event, the coffee gone cold in 
our cups. Morning brightened in the 
forest beyond Hans's clearing, a fine 
mist came off the water of Shaw Creek. 
Hans turned from the window. He 
opened the stove door and began pok- 
ing at the few live coals. Then he 
spoke again. 

"People think I just telling the big 
story, but I know what I saw. And to 
this day I still believe that they be the 
Martin's bones." 

He turned, and looked at me sharp- 
ly and strangely through the steel rims 
of his spectacles. 

HARPER's/AUGUST 1978 




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Reprints of William Tucker's "Of Mites and 
Men" are available only in quantities of 30 
or more at the following prices: 

30 - $30 

31-99 - 75 cents each 

100 500 • 50 cent' each 

more than 500 - 35 cents each 

We regret that because of the increased cost 
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However, our Circulation Department will be 
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99 



PUZZLE 



SUPERFLUITIES 

by E. R. Galli and Richard Maltby, Jr. 



This month's instructions: Be prepared to follow instruc- 
tions to the letter. 

Each clue contains one superfluous word. Remove it 
and the clue will be complete as a clue, though it may not 
remain grammatical as a sentence. The answer to the clue, 
however, will generally not be the same length as the space 
provided in the diagram — and solvers may therefore sus- 
pect that the extra word was not superfluous at all. 

Answers to clues include three proper names. Lights (i.e., 
words actually entered in the diagram) include one proper 
name, (a body of water). The lights at 22A. 40A. 7D. and 
26D are moderately obscure. As always, mental repunc- 
tua'tion of a clue is the key to its solution. 

The solution to last month's puzzle appears on page 87. 



CLUES 



ACROSS 



1. Lesson B-l: Principal is numskull (8) 
5. Heir has one right to start with: pleadina criminal ac- 
tivity (5) 

10. Stop — this fire is end of war surplus (5) 

1 1. Worshipped Swithin without in any way blushing (7) 

15. Go around indisposed, preaching it in English class (9) 

16. Noble white led beach bum (8) 

17. Chopper to move rapidly through sailing ship (7) 

18. Whither the leaves, lending fluttery sound (4) 

19. Gave a party, so he'd drunkenly gadded about small 
town (6) 

22. Prostitute fished in gorge (6) 

24. Crossing God is as terrifying as dismissing calamity (8) 

27. Intimate cleaves tail off Cosell — but not naturally (5) 

28. GI's silly photos developed for specialists in social 
disease (dropsy) (14) 

30. Polish lenses (front halves only) and lessen fine dust 

from the garden (6) 
32. Expert backer is tense (7) 

35. Clout requires legal rights (6) 

36. Smile about one loser showing temper (5) 

37. Terminus A or B renter? (6) 

38. Toff names bet foolishly: last place in the standings (8) 

39. Indignation returns without a worker on the padded 
throne (7) 

40. Mangoes and Mars can be discerned from roof (7) 



DOWN 



1. Foolish grin — it's sometimes beheaded around the 
collar (4) 




2. Dig in and push a bit of lamb chops (6) 

3. Almost severest, severest climb! (7) 

4. Tax extras: the extremes of duplicity (4) 

5. The poet's time could be pronto, even about five (3 

6. Bishop has right — bless every violation of law (6) 

7. Snoopy comparatively sore in broken-down barn (6 

8. Sharp implements sunder eggs (7) 

9. Poor devil threw out waxed candle inside (6) 
1 2. Pad for the hairpin scab (3) 

13. Curses block North South mover (5) 

14. Annoying acts in chess, if I'm sadly mistaken (9) 

20. Make a nice sound roundel — about a pound — frc 
pitch (5) 

21. Jousted on the outskirts of Jerusalem wall and alm( 
get into jam? (4) 

22. Enlightens 100 turned out from imposing buildings I 

23. Dither results from centering indecent halter (6) 

24. Dad flipped over cute ring attraction (6) 

25. Hang stopped in the air . . . however, we dropped (5 

26. Necromancer's mean, a capital fellow insinuated 
Europe! (5) 

29. Sounds like mature group reaction to a pun (5) 
3 1 . Pirate a felt outfit . . . it has to be altered (7) 

33. Superior bout without one animal (5) 

34. Ticklish present: suspender (6) 



CONTEST RULES 

Send completed diagram with name and address to Superflui- 
ties, Harper's Magazine, Two Park Avenue, New York, N.Y., 
10016. Entries must be received by August 10. Senders of the 
first three correct solutions opened will receive a one-year sub- 



scription to Harper's. The solution will be printed in the Se 
tember issue. Winners' names will be printed in the Octoh 
issue. Winners of the June puzzle, "Abecedarian Jigsaw," a 
Anne Duncan. Washington. D.C.: Dallas Williams, Los An| 
les. California; and Miriam B. Salomon, Buffalo, New Yoi 



100 



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1 he Other Zionism » 




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BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB, INC. 

Camp Hill. Pennsylvania 17012 

! 'lease enroll me as a member of Book-of- 
the-Month Club and send me the STORY ok 
civilization, billing me $20. plus postage 
and handling charges, for all eleven volumes. 
I agu e to bin 1 books during the coming 
year A postage and handling charge is added 
to each shipment. 8-A67-9 

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Mrs 17 

M.ss 



(Pleas*- print plainly 





How come 
when we put it all together, 
it's only up 18%* 



In the last 10 years, the costs of 
labor and raw materials that go into 
this telephone have skyrocketed. 
And yet, the price of the finished 
product has risen only 18%. 

Making it Better. 



The explanation is really quite 
simple. During the same period of 
time, this telephone has been 
redesigned literally dozens of times. 
Western Electric engineers kept 
discovering ways to make it a little 
more efficiently. So while our mate- 
rials and labor costs were going up, 
we've been able to hold our manu- 
facturing costs down. Not a bad way 
to cope with inflation. 

At Western Electric, cost reduc- 
tion and other improvements in our 
productivity don't just happen. 
They're the result of a systematic 
and formalized program which has 
existed for years. 



One of the key elements in this 
program is our Engineering Research 
Center (ERC). Western Electric is 
one of the few corporations that has 
such a facility. 

Unlike most research and 
development centers, its primary 
purpose is manufacturing research. 

Working closely with Bell Labs, 
where most of our products are 
designed, the ERC has developed 
new manufacturing processes that 
have resulted in enormous savings for 
Western Electric and our customers. 

Committed to Cutting Costs. 

In the last few years, Western 
Electric has implemented over 10,000 
different ideas to cut costs. 

Like the idea developed by two 
Western Electric engineers to re- 
design a simple piece of casing. 
In its first year it saved 
$2.3 million. 




Or like the idea developed by a 
team of engineers from Western 
Electric and Bell Labs that involved 
a new technique for electroplating 
our switching equipment. It has saved 
over $8.5 million in its first year. 

In 1977, the net effect of our cost 
reduction program was a savings of 
over $200,000,000. 

Continuing Innovation. 

With cost reductions like these, 
no wonder our rate of productivity 
improvement is well ahead of the 
overall U.S. rate. And it's one reason 
that during the past 10 years, tele- 
phone rates have risen less than half 
as fast as the consumer price index. 

It's a reflection of our continuing 
innovation and the close collaboration 
of Western Electric, Bell Labs, and 
Bell System telephone companies. 
Keeping your communications 
system the best in the world. 



Western Electric 




SEPTEMBER 1978 



FOUNDED !N 1850/VOL. 257. NO. 1540 



lerman T. Blumenthal 12 THE CANCER LOTTERY 

Gerontologists have begun to conclude that many cancers derive from 
the same genetic processes responsible for the evolution of the human 
species and the aging of its members. 

Ken Adelman 22 SEMINAR IN AFRICAN DIPLOMACY 

While President Carter grins and makes uplifting pronouncements, 
French President Giscard d'Estaing oversees a pragmatic 
diplomacy that wins the respect of African nations. 

Don B. Kates, Jr. 28 AGAINST CIVIL DISARMAMENT 

If a ban on handguns were to be enacted, the underprivileged who 
enjoy liberal sympathy but must deal with inadequate police 
protection would suffer illiberal and unintended consequences. 

George Gilder 35 PROMETHEUS BOUND 

The Congressional debate about the capital gains tax exposes the new 
American dream of an orderly and bureaucratic world. But timidity is 
contagious and the economic paralysis brought about by successive 
regulation places in doubt the country's hope for the future. 

Michael Harwood 43 OIL AND WATER 

Newspaper headlines proclaimed the wreck of the Argo Merchant in 
1976 an environmental disaster. Marine science is so new, however, 
and ignorance of the oceans so great, that few facts can be enlisted 
in support of any general theory about the effects of oil in water. 

/. F . Stone 65 THE OTHER ZIONISM 

The ethic that directs the Begin government's harsh Palestinian policy 
represents only one faction of the Zionist movement. As early as 
the 1920s, prominent Jewish intellectuals urged another Zionism 
under which Jews and Arabs might be reconciled in Palestine. 

Amos Oz 74 IVAN ILLITCH'S SYLLOGISM 

AND SO THE SIMPLE QUESTION PRESENTS ITSELF 
Meditations on the passage of time. 

Lewis Nordan 76 WELCOME TO THE ARROW CATCHER FAIR 
A short story 



ARTS AND LETTERS 



DEPARTMENTS 



BOOKS 

Walter Karp 84 A review of Robert Kennedy 
and His Times, 
by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. 

90 BOOKS IN BRIEF 

Jamie Wolf 95 IN STYLE 

Fashion, once a dictatorship, 
has descended into anarchy. 
The proliferation of choice 
imposes a tyrannical confusion. 



Lewis H. Lapham 



Tom Wolfe 



4 LETTERS 

5 MacNelly 

8 THE EASY CHAIR 
The courtier spirit 
in America. 

83 IN OUR TIME 



Cover painting by Rick Tulka 



Richard Liebmann- 100 AMERICAN 

Smith MISCELLANY 
How to create the 
perfect hoax. 

Richard Maltby, Jr. 103 PUZZLE 

Tossed Salad 



Harperis 



LETTERS 



Lewis H. Lapham 
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Man and beast 



Gene Lyons's defense of "sport" 
hunting ["Politics in the Woods," 
July] repeats the propaganda of the 
Hunting Establishment that tells us 
that hunting is good — even essential — 
for conservation. Hunters vigorously 
deny that hunting is, or has been, a 
threat to endangered species, but the 
facts are there for anyone willing to 
examine them. It is thoroughly docu- 
mented that over the years hunters 
have been responsible for helping wipe 
out numerous species of American 
wildlife, such as the heath hen, the 
Eastern elk, the passenger pigeon, the 
Merriam elk, the Carolina parakeet, 
the ivory-billed woodpecker, the Eski- 
mo curlew, and the Badlands bighorn. 
Hunting by man — for sport or profit — 
has been a major factor in the decline 
of many of the birds and mammals 
that are today considered endangered 
or threatened, such as the grizzly bear, 
the whooping crane, the leopard, the 
jaguar, the Key deer, and the Mexican 
duck. After two years of extensive 
hearings the Senate Commerce Com- 
mittee in mid- 1973 issued a report 
recommending new legislation to pro- 
tect endangered species. It stated that 
"the two major causes of extinction 
are hunting and destruction of hab- 
itat." 

Countless other animals are threat- 
ened by legal, "legitimate" sport hunt- 
ing. Today, hunting is threatening the 
future existence of such animals as 
the grizzly bear, the bobcat, the big- 
horn sheep, the leopard, the jaguar, 
and the mountain lion. 

Hunters consistently claim that deer 
herds must be "culled" to prevent 
overpopulation and starvation. But 
these winter die-off situations arise to 
some extent every year whether or not 
there is hunting; it is nature's way of 
eliminating the sick, the weak, and 
the very old animals. In any event, 
w inter die-offs are often brought about 
and made worse by hunter-run state 
fish and game departments propagat- 



ing and "managing for" deer in 
called wildlife restoration prograr: 

The main reason some areas t 
porarily end up with more deer t 
the habitat can support is that w 
life management officials delibera 
try to create a "surplus" of dee 
through stocking programs and : 
nipulation of habitat — in order 
stimulate a demand for. and sell 
maximum number of hunting liceni 
their main source of revenue. It 
simply untrue that deer, when 
alone, always overpopulate and sta 
to death. 

The argument that animals need 
be culled for their own good is 
central tenet of wildlife managers 
and the primary justification of, a 
rationale for, hunting. But this thee 
has, over the years, been shown to 
invalid. Moreover, it in no way ji 
tifies the hunting of predators, su 
as wolves and cougars, that do he 
keep deer herds from overpopulatir 

Such specious propaganda w 
clearly debunked in the widely pu 
licized 1971 controversy - over wheth 
or not to allow a deer hunt at the Gre 
Swamp (New Jersey ) National Wil 
life Refuge. Hunters, wildlife "ma 
agement" officials, and "game biol 
gists" all claimed that if the hunt we 
not held, the long-protected and "ov< 
ly large" deer population would si 
fer a massive die-off from starvatio 
This specious argument is repeated ] 
Mr. Lyons in his misleading accou 
of the Great Swamp situation. B 
when a lawsuit by conservations 
halted the hunt, the deer made 
through the winter just fine, and 
fact got along well for the next se 
era! years. When the hunt was 
nally held years later, there had be 
no massive die-off as predicted, no 
of the deer "taken" was starving, ai 
observers at the scene described the 
as looking fat and healthy. (Desp: 
all this, the U.S. Department of t 
Interior has now made the hunt i 
annual event.) Moreover, animals 
national parks — where there is i 
hunting or trapping — generally g 



4 



just fine without being subjected 
iriodic slaughter. Sometimes it 
rs that the greatest threat to the 
ng ethic is an unhunted, un- 
ged, healthy deer herd, 
lat is not in dispute about deer 
ng is that few if any hunters seek 
he starving deer, the one that 
make it through the \n inter, 
want to kill the largest and 
gest member of the herd, the 12- 
buck whose antlers will look best 
is wall, the one the species needs 
to survive and evolve. By re- 
dly removing the best of the 
ling population, be it a bear, an 
lant, or a bighorn sheep, the 
sr upsets nature's law of natural 
tion and survival of the fittest. It 
>ssible that killing off the bravest, 
aggressive animals — the ones the 
er is most likely to encounter or 
:hallenged by — while leaving the 
i, secretive ones, can, over time, 
ige the very nature of a species. 

waterfowl hunting any better 
shooting mammals? The U.S. De- 
ment of the Interior estimates 
some 2.5 million ducks are crip- 



pled each year by hunters, not count- 
ing the millions more hit but less 
seriously wounded by buckshot. Nor 
does the carnage end when the hunter 
leaves the field. Each season, accord- 
ing to Interior, an estimated 2-3 mil- 
lion waterfowl die a slow and painful 
death from poisoning by lead buckshot, 
which builds up in marsh bottoms 
and is ingested by feeding ducks. 

Does hunting finance conservation? 
It is true that hunting has raised sub- 
stantial revenues for conservation and 
wildlife-management programs. But 
far too much of this money goes to 
pay for such things as propagating 
deer and manipulating habitat, sala- 
ries for hunting-dominated fish and 
game bureaucrats and such noncon- 
servation-related activities as hunting- 
safety programs. 

And we hear so often of the "suc- 
cess" of such "conservation programs" 
as reintroducing pheasant and wild 
turkey to an area, but we seldom hear 
that such programs often involve kill- 
ing off the local predators — foxes, 
coyotes, raccoons, and any pet dogs 
or cats that happen along — by poison- 



ing, trapping, and shooting, in order 
to guarantee the propagation of the 
introduced "game" species. 

Further, consider the remarks of 
Sandra Oddo of Hurley, New York, 
published in the July, 1975, issue of 
Smithsonian magazine; this is more 
or less typical of what happens to 
many inhabitants of rural and sub- 
urban areas during the deer season: 

We live in a house surrounded 
by woods, our property bounded 
on one side by a hunt club and 
within a mile of state land where 
organized hunting is permitted. 
W e have bullet holes in our win- 
dows. Our children are not al- 
lowed to play outside during hunt- 
ing season. W'hen they visit friends, 
they are taken by car. Ours is red. 

The toll from six families along 
a mile-long stretch of road has 
been twelve cats, five dogs, and a 
pony during the last five hunting 
seasons. 

The gun lobby is constantly talking 
about the "rights" of hunters. But 
what about the rights of farmers, 
homeowners, and ordinary people who 



LETTERS 



would just like to take a walk in the 
woods or take their family on a picnic 
without outfitting them in helmets 
and bulletproof vests? If there are 
some 20 million Americans who hunt, 
then there are some 200 million who 
do not — and these people, represent- 
ing 90 percent of the population, are 
demanding a greater voice in what 
happens to our wildlife heritage. 

Lewis Regen stein 
Executive Vice-President 
The Fund for Animals 
Washington, D.C. 

Gene Lyons replies: 

My apologies to Cleveland Amory. 
who. as several readers have pointed 
out, is president not of Friends of 
Animals, but of The Fund for Animals. 
The mistake was due to a simple er- 
ror in copying from my notes. 

Had I ghostwritten it myself, I 
could not have produced a document 
more supportive of the central point 
of my article than Mr. Regenstein's 
letter. That point was that antihunting 
zealots and the Bolinas ideologues of 
"zero growth" are joined in a puri- 
tanical wish to rid themselves of the 
ambiguities of an imperfect world. 

Mr. Regenstein, for example, re- 
veres as "nature's way" the starvation 
of deer, but cannot abide death or 
pain inflicted upon the same animals 
by individual human action. He con- 
trives to avoid the fact that all food 
comes from living tissue and requires 
the "slaughter" of same. Old Mac- 
Donald, after all. retired some time 
ago. In his place are production-line 
techniques in which animals are not 
only killed and butchered in very 
much the same way automobiles are 
assembled, but are raised in conditions 
not far removed. A friend of mine 
regularly challenges his more strident 
acquaintances to accompany him on a 
hunting trip and to a slaughterhouse. 
He has never had any takers. 

Regenstein's melodramatic view of 
benign nature anil wicked man forces 
him to reject facts as nonexistent and 
scientific findings as corrupt when they 
do not accord with his preconceived 
positions. Note that he neither pro- 
duces nor even alludes to a shred of 
scientific evidence supporting his as- 
sertion that deer do not overpopulate. 
The matter of the Great Swamp deer 
is a case in point: starvation and dis- 
ease infestation caused by weakness 



and overcrowding were documented 
by wildlife biologists and pathologists 
(from the New York Department of 
Environmental Conservation's Wild- 
life Research Lab in cooperation with 
the New Jersey Division of Fish, 
Game, and Shell Fisheries I on the 
scene. For their findings, which are 
readily available,* Regenstein would 
substitute the impressions of "obser- 
vers," most of whom arrived carrying 
signs. Neither does he consider that 
the hunt was conducted in the fall, 
when deer are as fat as they are ever 
going to be. The University of Con- 
necticut study was conducted in late 
winter. There are no large predators 
in the Great Swamp save the suburban 
dog; nor do any exist in North Amer- 
ica that could survive on just 6,000 
acres surrounded by suburbs. The 
Point Reyes situation, involving, as 
it does, exotics, is in many ways 
unique. But both cases are noteworthy 
not because they are unusual, but be- 
cause they are examples of exactly 
what would happen were sport hunt- 
ing to be widely abolished. Virtually 
all of North America south of the 
Arctic Circle is what the Sierra Club 
calls a "degraded ecosystem," i.e., one 
in which human activity has altered 
habitat sufficiently to render nature's 
mythic "balance" a sentimental mem- 
ory. Lnlike their natural "enemies" 
among predators, deer thrive upon 
agriculture and logging. 

I am almost embarrassed at having 
to make so elementary a point, but 
"nature's way" is not always the best 
way. One of nature's ways of coping 
with human overcrowding, after all, 
was the bubonic plague. This is not 
to beg the question of human respon- 
sibility to animals we find useful or 
aesthetically pleasing (I assume Re- 
genstein has no objection to the 
slaughter of rats), but rather to insist 
upon it. According to the National 
Wildlife Federation, the Eastern elk. 
passenger pigeon, Merriam elk, Caro- 
lina parakeet, and Badlands bighorn 
— species Regenstein lists as having 
been made extinct by hunters — were 
extinguished by the first decade of 
this century, most of them by a com- 
bination of market hunting and the 
destruction of habitat. All quite before 
wildlife conservation or hunter li- 

*See the article by Douglas Roscoe et 
al. in the Journal oj Wildlife Diseases, 
January, 1975. 



censing were even thought of. B« 
hunter organizations and groups si 
as the National Wildlife Federate 
the Audubon Society, and the Siei 
Club i my criticism of which was 
rected only at the San Francisco B 
Area Chapter I keep a close and : 
formed watch on matters involving t 
well-being of both game and nc 
game species, and debate the relati 
ethics of aspects of the hunt such 
the seeking of trophy heads and t 
killing of predators. Even so. the 
is no cause for moral absolutism 
undue alarm. Men have been seeki 
trophy stags since the dawn of histo 
without real effect upon truly wi 
populations. Twelve-point bucks get 
big not by being bold and aggressiv 
but by being cunning and wary. I 
the time big bucks are taken they a 
near the end of their natural li\es 
any case, and will have fathen 
hundreds of descendants. One of tl 
problems facing wildlife managers, i 
fact, is persuading hunters to take do< 
in order to keep herds at supportab 
levels. The problem of lead pollutio 
in areas of heavy duck hunting ha 
been addressed, as I suspect Regenstei 
knows, by the Fish and Wildlife Sei 
vice of the Department of the Interioi 
which requires steel shot. 

Nobody, as I wrote to begin wit! 
defends brutality, piggishness. poact 
ing, and the reckless shooting indulge* 
in by an oafish minority of fools. Tha 
is why I am bewildered at Reger 
stein's hostility to spending mone 
generated by license fees on hunte 
education and regulation. Finally, i 
90 percent of the population does no 
hunt, organizations opposed to hunt 
ing should have no difficulty at al 
in having their point of view writtei 
into law. 

ERRATUM : 

Cleveland Amory is founder an< 
non-paid president of The Fund fo 
Animals. He is not president of Friend 
of Animals, as stated in "Politics in th 
Woods" (July), nor is he in any wa 
responsible for that organization's poli 
cy statements critical of hunters, as th 
article also unfortunately implied. W 
regret these errors, as well as the ai 
tides implication that Mr. Amor 
— whose family is from Charlestor 
South Carolina — harbors any prejudic 
against Southerners. 

harper's/september 197 



100 years later, 
the wounds still Heed. 




I War continues to 
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Gty . 
Stare. 



THE EASY CHAIR 



POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE 



The market in kings 



Should a man be appointed to a 
new post, praise of him pours forth, 
overflowing into courtyards and 
chapels, reaching the stair, the 
hall, the gallery, the whole of the 
royal apartment ; one's quite sub- 
V merged, one's overwhelmed by it. 
There are no two opinions on the 
man; envy and jealousy speak with 
the same voice as adulation; all 
are swept away by the torrent, 
tvhich forces them to say what they 
think, or don't think, of a man, and 
often to praise one whom they do 
not knoic. A man of wit, merit, or 
valor becomes, in one instant, a 
genius of the first rank, a hero, a 
demi-god. ... Should he seem in- 
secure in the position to which he 
has been raised, everyone readily 
shifts to another point of view; 
should he fall from it completely, 
the machinery that had raised him 
so high, by means of applause and 
eulogy, is still available to make 
him lapse into utter neglect; I 
mean that there are none who de- 
spise him more heartily, who blame 
him more sharply, and who speak 
more ill of him, than those who 
had devoted themselves to the rage 
for praising him. 

— La Bruyere, Characters 

DURING THE PAST FEW MONTHS 
I have been listening to more 
and more people tell one an- 
other stories about President 
Carter's provincialism and lack of 
grace. They take an almost masochistic 
pleasure in reporting rumors of Mr. 
Carter's incompetence, and as I listen 
to them talk I am reminded of court- 
iers who have lost faith in the divinity 
of their sovereign. In a nation theoretic- 
ally committed to republican ideals of 
government, the worship of kings falls 
outside the bounds of correct opinion. 



The practice doesn't conform to the 
theory. In Washington and New York 
most of the people who deal with 
matters of public policv belong to what 
has become a Court society. They rely 
on patronage and favor, and they feel 
uncomfortable w it Ii anything but the 
most stylistic representations of democ- 
racy. Given a choice in November be- 
tween the party of the American Revo- 
lution and the monarchy of George III. 
they would vote unhesitatinglv for the 
Crown. The worship of kings seems to 
them as natural as the worship of 
money. 

Mr. Carter disappoints them because 
he cannot sustain an image of royalty. 
He goes about the business of govern- 
ment with the earnestness of a petty 
magistrate who thinks that he has been 
elected to govern the country rather 
tban to present a reassuring and stately 
facade. By so doing he unwittingly 
threatens to wreck the scaffolding of 
pretension on which the Court society 
mounts its claims to grandeur and au- 
thorhy. This both offends and alarms 
people. Having lost faith in the gov- 
ernment of mortal men they re- 
quire ceremonial figures whom they 
can invest with the robes of infal- 
lible majesty. Such figures don't ex- 
ist in a state of nature. They must be 
manufactured, and the demand for 
them becomes increasingly insistent as 
the world comes to be seen as a far 
more complicated and dangerous place 
than previously had been supposed. 
People hear rumors of unsettling dis- 
coveries in the sciences, of terrorism in 
Europe and hunger in the southern 
latitudes, of nuclear weapons in the 
hands of madmen. But who knows what 
anv of these things mean or portend? 
Lewis H. Lapham is the editor of Harper'?. 



by Lewis H. Laph 



In the hope of reducing the perce 
levels of ignorance and anxiety, 
pie find it comforting to resort to 
magical thinking of childhood. 1 
they prefer to be ruled by kings w 
they can confuse with God or the 
nipotent father. The present ad< 
tion of the Arabs I kings who 
body all the infantile fantasies a! 
ciated with kings I runs parallel to 
adoration of celebrities and Zen n 
ters. The general wish for omnipote 
becomes so urgent that Paul New! 
can summon a press conference to ! 
that he has consented to help the wo 
disarm. Robert Redford undertakes 
exhort the populace on behalf of l 
sun. The Catholics in Northern Irela 
appeal to Sen. Edward Kennedv — p 
sumably because of his connectic 
among the martyred saints — to put 
end to the religious wars. The fearf 
ness seeps through all levels of socie 
but it is most acutely felt among pi 
pie who hold power but don't km 
why they hold it or what they are si 
posed to do with it. Their uneasini 
testifies to the decay of the republic 
tradition, in the precincts of the arts a 
sciences as well as in the political ord 
The republican idea assumes that i 
bodv. not even Governor Brown of Cc 
fornia. can be counted upon to beha 
in a uniformly virtuous or heroic nu 
ner. The men who had the coura 
and self-confidence to write the Cc 
stitution accepted both the necess 
and the untrustworthiness of govei 
ment. They thought the law by- 
means perfect, but at least it gave m 
rules with which to rescue themseh 
from megalomania and self-hatred, 
have no ambition to govern mei 
Jefferson said. *it is a painful a 
thankless office." 



IS IT WORTH RISKING 
f OUR LIFE FOR «H MILES 
PER GALLON? 




Tiny little subcompact cars may be great for 
;aving gas. But as accident statistics show, they're 
lot particularly safe. 

A Volvo, on the other hand, gets a very respect- 
able 29 m.p.g. highway —19 m.p.g. city* But 
ultimately, we put a much higher premium on life 
than we do on gasoline. 

The roomy passenger compartment of a Volvo 
is surrounded by six steel pillars, each one strong 
enough to support the weight of the entire car. 

Crumple zones, front and rear are designed to 
absorb the impact of a collision, rather than pass- 
ing it on to the passengers. 

As a matter of fact, the federal government is 
so impressed with Volvo's crash worthiness they've 
become one of our biggest customers. They 
bought more than 60 Volvos, many of which have 
been crashed into each other at closing speeds of 
up to 90 m.p.h. in an effort to establish safety 
standards for cars of the future. 

VOLVO. A CAR YOU CAN BELIEVE IN. 



So before you buy your next car, weigh carefully 
what you have to gain and lose. 
A big substantial Volvo can not only save gas. 
It could end up conserving something much 
more precious. 




THE EASY CHAIR 



OVER THE PAST GENERATION 
this view of government has 
all but disappeared from the 
conduct of public affairs. Gov- 
ernment is supposed to be cheerful and 
fun, a matter of going to parties and 
distributing a limitless number of 
Christmas presents. Almost none of the 
people attached to the Court have had 
much confidence in any President since 
John F. Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy and his 
Administration satisfied the national 
longing for kings and queens and fairy 
tales. He allowed people to think of the 
world as a theater in which the Ameri- 
can hero remained always young and 
always triumphant. He understood that 
kings do nothing but stand as sym- 
bolic figures, amidst as much pomp 
and ceremony as can be decently ar- 
ranged in a democratic state. They 
grant audiences and receive petitions, 
in the meantime indulging themselves 
in pleasures demonstrably royal. Mr. 
Kennedy played the part with admira- 
ble aplomb, squandering his inheritance 
among bawds and panders, casting the 
blessing of his countenance on the 
poor, feigning a connoisseur's interest 
in justice and the music of Pablo Casals. 

His success in the part had a great 
deal to do with his having been born 
rich. In a society that makes a god of 
wealth, the rich man, like the king, 
remains a law unto himself. He can 
do no wrong, and it is sufficient that 
he took the trouble to be born. Among 
a restless people ceaselessly striving to 
become something else, the spectacle of 
a man content merely to be has a calm- 
ing effect. It is possible to assume that 
a king can afford the luxury of inner 
repose, that his exemption from exis- 
tential necessity allows him to notice, 
possibly even to comfort and assist, 
the less fortunate. Kings and rich men 
can make of the business of the state a 
pleasant diversion. 

President Carter, like Presidents 
Johnson and Nixon before him, fails 
to convey this impression of ease and 
spaciousness. President Johnson had 
too voracious an appetite for power, 
and he didn't know how to conceal his 
greed behind the napkin of aristocra- 
tic disdain. He was constantly showing 
people his wounds and trophies, prov- 
ing that even while sitting on the toilet 
at the morning levee he could make 
policy and destroy the ambitions of 
anybody who opposed him. It was 
President Nixon's weakness, not his 



strength, that irritated the Court and 
the common people. Like Mr. Carter, 
he was too obviously a bourgeois fig- 
ure, too cramped and earnest, insuffi- 
ciently secure in his prerogatives to 
burn the White House tapes and to ad- 
mit, with condescension, that he had 
sent agents of the Crown to ransack 
the offices of the Democratic National 
Committee. He didn't know how to 
give State entertainments, and his pre- 
tensions to sovereignty were as ridic- 
ulous as the uniforms he designed for 
the White House guard. Even before 
he suffered the indignity of the Water- 
gate scandal (something expected of a 
groom), the media preferred Henry 
Kissinger. Mr. Kissinger enjoyed the 
advantage of having been educated in 
the ducal household of Nelson Rocke- 
feller; he knew how to speak the lan- 
guage of the Court, how to deceive, 
cajole, flatter, and sacrifice people to 
his intrigues. The media, unquestion- 
ably the grandest of the nation's court- 
iers, found him charming. 

The media did everything they could 
for Mr. Carter, applauding his royal 
progress from the South and sustain- 
ing his claim to the throne. In the 
spring and summer of 1976. possibly 
as a patriotic gesture on the occasion 
of the nation's birthday, the television 
networks and major newspapers tried 
to make of Mr. Carter a populist 
prince. They bestowed the favor of 
publicity and assumed that Mr. Carter 
would reward them with the semblance 
of a king. Alas, to no avail. Mr. Carter 
cannot rid himself of the habit of sub- 
servience. Instead of acquiring the ar- 
rogance expected of royalty he still de- 
fers to David Rockefeller and the court- 
iers wearing the livery of the Trilateral 
Commission. President Kennedy had 
the good manners to flatter both the 
media and the people in his entourage 
by saying to them, in effect: "You are 
so good that you are fit to follow me." 
Mr. Carter weakens the compliment by 
saying, in effect: "You are so good 
that I am fit to follow you." 

THE need FOR convincing ap- 
pearances engenders a land- 
office business in the certifi- 
cations by which candidates 
for high office and reputation gradual- 
ly acquire the outward shows of wis- 
dom, power, and magnificence. People 
need to be told that things really are 



as they seem, that Presidents kn 
what they're doing, that the minist 
entrusted with fleets and arm 
possess something more than a mi 
mal degree of intelligence and a tah 
for self-aggrandizement. The me< 
perform the services of a Court cha 
berlain, arranging the rude confusi 
of the world into the polite forms 
Court ceremony. Thus they seek 
diminish their own anxiety as well 
the anxiety of their audience by redi 
ing Presidents and Cabinet ministe 
to celebrities on the order of Mi 
Jagger or the late Aristotle Onassis. ] 
the same process the large and u 
knowable workings of history becon 
small and theatrical events. The b 
wildering questions of political eco 
omy resolve into "the energy crisis' 
the unfathomable causes of hums 
cruelty dissolve into the fashionab 
issue of "human rights." Jefferson's n 
tion of governing men, one whi( 
would imply ambiguity, pain, and argii 
ment. gives way to the more decoroii 
notion of manipulating abstract enti 
ties, of attending conferences and mo\S 
ing flags on maps. In the society of thl 
Court appearances become paramount 
People assign supernatural powers t| 
persons or institutions purportedly sac 
rosanct. They defer to the wisdom o 
the rich, to the imprimatur of Harvan 
University or the New York Times, U 
the good opinion of John J. McCloy oi 
Johnny Carson. 



IN NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON 
keep meeting people who manag 
their images and ambitions as i 
they were courtiers at Versaille 
during the reign of Louis XIV. Th 
important thing is to be seen at th 
fetes of their prince (whether at A^ 
erill Harriman's dinner parties or wrii 
ing in the New York Times Book R( 
view), to have one's name mentione 
in the gossip columns or W , to be lis! 
ed among the members of advisor 
councils associated with grave sock 
purpose. Such people spend their tim 
accumulating credentials of one kin 
or another — traveling to a conferenc 
at the Aspen Institute for no othe 
reason than that they should be notice 
and marked present: publishing unir 
telligible treatises in journals that enjo 
the patronage of the Court (Foreig 
Affairs, Wilson Quarterly, Columbi 
Journalism Review, et cetera) ; scratcl 



10 



I m the doors of the grandees who 
I bestow favors in the form of pub- 
l>on, research grants, tax exemp- 
I , and appointments to ornamental 
I nissions. The blurbs advertising 
I books ("Masterpiece," "work of 
d reality." et cetera I testify not so 
l to the book's worth as to the 
ity of the author's connections, 
ithin the abstract realms of public 
•y, people appoint one another to 
: in the superstitious belief that 
confer capacities as well as titles 
honors. Nelson Rockefeller dis- 
red Henry Kissinger as an obscure 
irian and helped to raise him to the 
a of Secretary of State. By so doing 
sure that Mr. Rockefeller thought 
Mr. Kissinger acquired not only 
ity but also the arts of a statesman. 
Rockefeller's brother David has 
; much the same thing with the 
i more egregious figure of Zbig- 
• Brzezinski. Observers given to a 
sh view of American politics inter- 
these arrangements as proof of 
ipiracy and the omnipotence of the 
ed Establishment. They miss the 



point because they insist on believing 
that the Rockefellers, at least, know 
what they are doing. Thus they fail to 
notice that the Rockefellers, like most of 
their friends and confederates, des- 
perately wish to believe in the magical 
figures of their own childlike creation. 

1 found myself thinking about toy 
soldiers last spring in Washington 
when I heard Cyrus Vance, the Secre- 
tary of State, give one of his ritual 
speeches about foreign affairs. Like 
Mr. Kissinger and Mr. Brzezinski, 
Mr. Vance had been duly certified by 
the media and by his peers as a man 
of undoubted probity and charm. This, 
of course, has nothing to do with his 
qualifications as anything other than 
a decorative presence in the board- 
rooms of the Yale Corporation and the 
Rockefeller Foundation. As he labored 
through the obligatory and familiar 
phrases about the prospect of thermo- 
nuclear war, I had the impression of a 
man who was badly frightened. The 
nervousness so plainly apparent in Mr. 
Vance's manner reminded me of a 
story that 1 once had been told about 



a Greek general. Before World War I 
the general enjoyed a reputation for 
bravery. Although he never had en- 
dured the inconvenience of a battle- 
field, the general had attended the best 
military schools and had commanded, 
with distinction, troops on parade. He 
counted the King of Greece among his 
patrons and friends, and he was known 
for the brilliance of his uniforms. 
Throughout World War I the general 
remained in Athens, discussing the 
strategy in France and Mesopotamia. 
He astonished foreign observers with 
his victorious designs on tables of sand. 
In 1920 the general had the bad luck 
to be sent to fight the-Turks in Anato- 
lia. On the afternoon of his first day 
in the vicinity of artillery fire he be- 
came convinced that he was made of 
glass. So intense was his delusion that 
his aides had to wrap him in padded 
quilts. During the rest of the campaign 
they carried him in and out of his 
headquarters tent as if he were an an- 
tique sculpture stolen from the Par- 

thenon. □ 

harper's/september 1978 



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by Oliver Wendell Holmes 




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11 



THE CANCER LOTTERY 



Risk rises with age 



by Herman T. Blument) 



ARE we experiencing an epi- 
demic of cancer, or of cancer- 
ophobia — or both? Gallup 
polls in 1965 and again in 
1976 revealed that the public fears 
cancer more than any other disease. 
When all respondents over twenty-one 
were confronted with a list of eight 
afflictions and asked which is "the 
worst thing that can happen to you?" 
about 60 percent selected cancer; heart 
attack, with a mortality rate about 
three times greater than cancer's, was 
named by only 10 percent. The public's 
perception seems to be that of an 
unidentified murderer roaming the 
streets and killing indiscriminately, 
while the police remain helpless. 

Cancer has always been an emotion- 
ally draining experience for victim, rel- 
atives, and friends, but the present 
climate seems to be a particularly 
alarmist one, perhaps bordering on 
hysteria. Only occasionally is a bit of 
humor to be found, such as in the car- 
toon that shows a couple watching the 
evening news with the newscaster an- 
nouncing, "And now for today's list of 
carcinogenic substances." 

A feature article on cancer in News- 
week provided a list of the "ten top 
suspects" and noted that altogether 
there are some 1,400 suspect chem- 
icals, drugs, physical agents, and pol- 
lutants, though only twenty or so are 
widely held to be proved carcinogenic 
agents. The National Institute of Oc- 
cupational Safety and Health maintains 



a registry of more than 2,000 suspects. 
Aside from cigarettes, diet, and alco- 
hol, the list includes food additives, 
cosmetics, drugs, and a host of toxic 
chemicals in workplaces or in manu- 
factured products, ionizing radiation, 
and even sunlight. More to the point 
is that carcinogens are believed to be 
present in the air we breathe, the food 
we eat, the water we drink, and the 
soil from which our food supply de- 
rives. 

There's a common current assump- 
tion that some 65-90 percent of can- 
cers can be attributed to harmful chem- 
icals in our environment. This figure 
derives from a proposal made in 1969 
by Dr. John Higginson — currently di- 
rector of the International Agency for 
Research in Cancer — and is based on 
international differences in various 
types of cancer. Higginson theorized 
that it should be possible to reduce 
the incidence of cancer by creating an 
environment equivalent to that obtain- 
ing in the country with the lowest 
incidence of each type. Not only is 
this proposal highly theoretical, its 
implementation is virtually impossible 
and it does not take into account 
genetic differences between various 
national populations. 

The issue that besets cancer re- 
search seems to be this: Do we have 
as many villains in our midst as the 
prevailing mood would seem to indi- 
cate? Or is it not as Pogo might say, 
"We have met the enemy and it is 



us." Does our environment cause 
cer, or do our own bodies betray 
inevitably, in the aging process? 



Before considering the 
of aging in the origin of 
cer, we need to look at so 
shifts in the characteristics 
the American population since the 
of the century and how these chanj 
have affected the frequency of seve 
diseases. Since 1900 the over-six 
five population has increased m< 
than twice as fast as the total popi 
tion; in the twenty years between 19 
and 1966 this age group increased 
78 percent. For those over seve 
five the increase has been even mt 
marked, 111 percent. In 1900 only 
percent of the total population w 
over sixty-five; this group now rep 
sents about 10 percent of the total, ai 
by the year 2000 it is estimated th 
there will be about 31 million peop 
over sixty-five, some 18 percent of ti 
total population. 

If one looks at the changing disti 
bution pattern of disease responsit 
for most mortalities, it becomes ei 
dent that in 1900 infectious diseas 
accounted for most deaths, while t 
day heart disease, cancer, and cerebr 

Dr. Blumenthal is Research Professor 
Gerontology in the department of psycholoi 
Washington University, and Adjunct P, 
fessor of Community Medicine at the . 
Louis University School of Medicine. 




12 



uorrhage (stroke) are the leaders, 
ile dementia is not formally listed 
. cause of death, although this afflic- 
. does reduce remaining life ex- 
:ancy; if it were so listed it would 
k fourth. The Terry Report, which 
iched the campaign against cig- 
:te smoking more than a decade 
, recognized that there has been a 
gressive increase in cancer mor- 
ty since the turn of the century to 
ch what some are now calling an 
demic. However, diagnostic accu- 
y has also improved immeasurably 
t the past seventy-five years and 
•pie see physicians much more fre- 
■ntlv than they did sixty or seventy 
irs ago; once this is taken into ac- 
mt it appears likely that cancer was 
re prevalent at the turn of the cen- 
y than vital statistics indicate. Nev- 
heless, the Terry Report made an 
empt to adjust for some of these 
:tors. concluding that some 30 per- 
U of the increase in cancer deaths 
ice 1900 can be accounted for on 
; basis of the increase in life expec- 
icy. The probability that a person 
11 develop cancer in the next five 
ars is only 1 in 700 at age twenty- 
e. hut at age sixty- five it is 1 in 44 
sixteen times higher. 
Data from Australia show that in 
e 20—44 age group there was no 
ange in lung cancer mortality be- 
een 1950 and 1973, while in the 75- 
' age group there was a marked in- 
ease during this same period. The 
oups between these two extremes 
tow an increase that correlates di- 
:ctly with age. The conventional view 
' this data would be that the longer 
ne smokes, the more prevalent lung 
mcer becomes ; the lungs of a seventy- 
ve-year-old who started smoking at 
venty would have fifty-five years of 
"cposure to tobacco carcinogens, while 
lose of a fifty-year-old who started 
tnoking at the same age would have 
nly thirty years of exposure. How- 
ver, another possibility is that the 
ells of older individuals are more sus- 
eptible to the carcinogenic effects of 
)bacco than those of younger people, 
nd as noted below, there is substan- 
al evidence to support this second 
ossibility. 
Other common cancers also show an 
lcreasing prevalence with advancing 
ge. These include, for example, some 
">rms of leukemia, cancer of the breast 
nd of the uterus in women, and can- 



cers of the gastrointestinal tract, in- 
cluding the pancreas in both sexes and 
the prostate in men. (Cancer of the 
cervix in women, of the testis in men, 
and a few other cancers show a more 
random age distribution.) 

Data deriving from the American 
Cancer Society confirm the widely held 
belief that despite all of the publicized 
therapeutic breakthroughs, cancer sur- 
vival rates are generally not improv- 
ing. In women there has been a sig- 
nificant drop in mortalities only among 
victims of uterine cancer, probably 
due to early detection by pap smears, 
and of stomach cancer. In men the 
only significant changes are the marked 
increase in deaths from lung cancer 
and an equally marked decrease in 
stomach cancer. The decrease in stom- 
ach cancer mortalities in both sexes 
seems due to a mysterious decrease in 
frequency rather than to any new pre- 
vention or treatment. If some unknown 
dietary factor is responsible, it is ap- 
parently with respect to stomach can- 
cer only, because incidence of colon 
cancer has increased. 

Traditionally, the relationship be- 
tween aging and disease has been 
viewed in two ways: 1) Some diseases 
require many years between the ini- 
tiating event and the appearance of 
illness. Alternatively, repeated "in- 
sults" may have to occur before dis- 
ease results. In either case, the ex- 
tended life-span that began about three 
decades ago makes the risk of cancer 
and other diseases greater for an in- 
creasing number of people. 2) Dis- 
ease harms body organs and cells, and 
thereby adds "injury"' to the "insult" 
of inevitable aging. In this context, 
disease may be considered to have a 
cumulative, degenerative effect and 
thus to accelerate aging. 

Over the past two decades several 
gerontologists have been examining 
yet a third possibility, namely that cer- 
tain diseases, including cancer, are in- 
extricably linked with aging. If this 
proposition is valid, it means that ev- 
eryone who lives long enough will at 
one or more times over the course of 
his life-span generate cancer cells, as 
Australian Nobel laureate F.M. Burnet 
has asserted. James Trosko and C.C. 
Chang at Michigan State University 
hold a similar view. They believe that 
it is not possible to avoid all of the 
environmental factors that may cause 
cancer and that the same natural ge- 



netic processes producing mutations 
that led to the evolution of our species 
are also responsible for the phenom- 
enon we call cancer. 

Environmental hazards have been 
present throughout the history of life 
on our planet, and indeed, mutations, 
good and bad, have in effect dictated 
the course of evolution. George Sacher 
at the Argonne National Laboratory 
has been particularly interested in 
isolating the evolutionary factors re- 
sponsible for the superior longevity of 
human beings. His studies show that a 
mammal's life-span is directly tied to 
the proportionate size of its brain. The 
bigger the brain, the longer it takes the 
species to develop its physical and 
mental capacities. 

The human brain is thought to have 
doubled in size during the past 2 mil- 
lion years. Intelligence has increased 
with size, permitting greater control 
over the external environment. Cloth- 
ing, weapons, and housing have en- 
hanced our longevity in rather obvious 
ways. Less evident, perhaps, is the fact 
that the brain can also fine-tune the 
internal environment of the human 
body as the brains of other species 
cannot. An important strategy of evo- 
lution has been to provide mammals 
with their greatest resistance to harm- 
ful environmental factors during the 
period of the life-span when they en- 
joy their greatest reproductive capac- 
ity. This assures the survival of the 
species. Evolution has little interest 
in the survival of the middle-aged and 
the elderly, who have lost their capacity 
to procreate, and who can therefore no 
longer contribute new individuals to 
the species. On the other hand, our 
superior intelligence has also engen- 
dered social mechanisms and a body 
of medical science that allow the hu- 
man species to realize the full capacity 
of its life-span (which, as Sacher also 
points out, may not extend much be- 
yond eighty years no matter how well 
we control our environment). 



THREE INTERNAL SYSTEMS are 
particularly relevant to our 
capacity to resist disease and 
to extend longevity: 1) The 
system within each cell that main- 
tains the fidelity of production of those 
substances that derive more or less 
directly from the individual's genes 
(DNA). 2) The immune system, which 



13 



THE CANCER LOTTERY 



protects the individual not only from 
intruding viruses, bacteria, and para- 
sites, but also from the body's own 
cells when they go awry, as in the case 
of cancer. 3) The neuroendocrine sys- 
tem, which regulates the functions of 
the body's hormones, including those 
involved in the reproductive process. 

The first of these systems relates to 
research on senescence and to a possi- 
ble origin of cancer cells independent 
of the influence of external factors in 
the environment. Each cell of the body 
synthesizes proteins. Some proteins go 
into structural tissues such as mus- 
cle or bone, 'others into enzymes (cat- 
alysts that facilitate chemical reac- 
tions) ; still others provide hormones, 
and some form antibodies that protect 
against foreign intruders, as well as 
against the proliferation of cancer cells. 
The phases of this process consist of 
the replication of genetic DNA by a 
process termed transcription; this is 
followed by translation to indicate that 
the final product, the protein, is in 
effect a printout analogous to that pro- 
vided by a computer. The composite 
of genes that controls this process is 
commonly called the genetic program. 
This may be an old story to many 
readers. Less common knowledge is 
that gerontologists and others refer to 
the "fidelity of information flow" in 
this system to indicate that there are 
sometimes errors that result in "mis- 
spellings" or "misstatements" in the 
printouts. The latter may be the con- 
sequence of a flaw in the DNA equiv- 
alent to a mutation, but errors may oc- 
cur as well in transcription and trans- 
lation. 

There is a considerable body of evi- 
dence indicating that as cells age they 
become progressively more prone to 
such errors, the consequence of which 
may, in some instances, be cell death. 
In others, the result may be the trans- 
formation of a normal cell into a can- 
cer cell. Sometimes this transformation 
proceeds through several stages. In 
fact, there is evidence showing that 
cancer-producing radiations, chemi- 
cals, or viruses change the character- 
istics of the DNA and cause an in- 
fidelity of the protein synthetic sys- 
tem similar to that which occurs with 
natural aging. Agents such as X rays 
appear even to accelerate other mani- 
festations of senescence. It therefore 
becomes difficult to distinguish between 
an environmentally induced process 



and the body's genetically programmed 
aging process. If one considers the 
possibility that at some point in life 
these two phenomena (one intrinsic 
and the other environmental) merge, 
then assessing environmental impact 
may become extremely difficult, if not 
impossible. 

Henry Pitot, head of the cancer re- 
search program at the University of 
Wisconsin, has reviewed evidence 
showing some nine similarities be- 
tween senescent and cancer cells, as 
well as three differences. The majority 
of carcinogenic chemicals must be 
converted in the body to active carcin- 
ogens. But the body also has mecha- 
nisms for destroying — detoxifying — 
these agents. Whether or not cancer 
develops depends on which of these 
two competing mechanisms predomi- 
nates, and the ability to detoxifv may 
deteriorate with age. Polyunsaturated 
fats, recommended for preventing 
heart attacks, accelerate aging in test 
animals, reduce the effectiveness of 
the immune system, and increase tu- 
mor incidences. There have even been 
reports suggesting that these highly 
touted substitutes for butter and other 
fats may act similarly in human be- 
ings. Thus polyunsaturated fats may 
be yet another fine example of the 
safeguard proving worse than the dis- 
ease. The public has not yet been told 
that these products may be carcino- 
genic. 

One way of carrying out compari- 
sons between senescent and cancer 
cells is by studying isolated cells in 
tissue culture. Studies at Harvard 
show that senescent cells, when ex- 
posed to carcinogenic agents, are par- 
ticularly vulnerable to a transforma- 
tion process resembling cancer. This 
transformation of cultured cells has 
been called an "escape from senes- 
cence," but in the context of the w hole 
body, such newly won freedom is hard- 
ly a benefit. What is not yet known is 
whether some external agent is neces- 
sary to initiate the transformation pro- 
cess; some researchers believe an ex- 
ternal agent may not be necessary. 

There has been much in the news 
lately about the possible dangers of 
research on recombinant DNA. This 
kind of research is commonly referred 
to as "genetic engineering" because it 
is now possible to cut out a segment 
of DNA and splice in a new segment 
from another organism. In one such 



experiment at the University of Cal 
fornia in San Francisco researche) 
have excised DNA from a bacteriui 
and spliced in a segment of DNA froi 
rats that directs the production of insi 
lin. The bacterium then produces ii 
sulin. However, the public is probabl 
less aware of the fact that the bod 
also has the capacity for carrying 01 
a similar process, which it uses to r< 
pair damaged DNA. Ronald Hart, < 
Ohio State University, and James Tro 
ko have found that species with Ion 
life-spans maintain efficient DNA r< 
pair capacity far longer than specie 
with short life-spans: in effect, life 
spans correlate with the ability t 
maintain this function. They have als 
found that there are two kinds of DN/ 
repair: error-free and error-prone 
The latter is held to be responsibl 
for mutations that lead to either cai 
cer or senescence. Research of thi 
kind suggests that the opposite sid 
of the coin from natural aging is th 
development of cancer. 



DNA REPAIR CAPACITY ma 
thus be viewed as the firs 
line of defense against aginj 
and cancer. The second lin 
of defense is the immune system, whicl 
can identify and destroy cells that hav^ 
suffered unrepaired DNA damage, a 
well as cancer cells. F. M. Burne 
has observed that there is a minor can 
cer mortality peak in childhood tha 
subsides at about the onset of sexua 
maturity. Cancer mortalities then re 
main low until about age thirty, aftei 
which they rise steeply. On the othei 
hand, the effectiveness of the immuni 
response in the destruction of cancel 
cells reaches a peak at about age fif 
teen with the onset of sexual maturity 
remains high through about age thirty 
and then progressively declines. Burne 
interprets this model in terms of evolu 
tion. He attributes the minor mortal 
ity peak to genetic defects that are ex 
pressed during childhood when th( 
immune system is not yet completely 
developed. The lowest cancer mortality 
rate corresponds to the period of max 
imum reproductive capacity, which i: 
also the period of maximum effective 
ness of the immune system. The steadi 
ly rising cancer mortality rate aftei 
age thirty supports the notion tha 
evolution is not concerned with th< 
survival of senescing individuals. 



16 



[the superior human brain provides 
precise control of the stability of 
ly internal biological functions. It 
implishes this through its modula- 
i of the endocrine system, primarily 

connections between the higher 
in centers and a part of the brain 
ed the hypothalamus, which sends 
mical messages to the endocrine 
ids where hormones are produced, 
rmones not only regulate processes 
Inn cells, including functions that 
ive from DNA, but also influence 

immune system, promoting and 
■pressing its activities in response 
certain circumstances. George Sol- 
on at Stanford University has 
n studying the effects of emotions 
1 stress on the immune system, at- 
lpting to discover their interrela- 
nships with cancer. His objective is 
demonstrate that during certain 
otional states and stressful situations 
:re is a hormonal suppression of the 
mune system. 

Hans Selye, a Canadian biologist, 
I d Burnet believe tha| repeated 
ess over years adds to the deteriora- 
n of the immune system. In this 
1 atext, physical, social, economic, 
d a host of other factors indigenous 
industrially advanced societies may 
rve as accelerators of aging and thus 
rhaps of cancer. If one views ciga- 
tte smoking as correlative with ten- 
Mi, then tension might manifest the 
me statistical correlation with can- 
r that is attributed to cigarette con- 
niption if only we could quantify 
ress as accurately as we can count 
e number of cigarettes consumed. 
In The Closing Circle, Barry Corn- 
oner states that "everything leads to 
rerything else." So, too, we might de- 
ribe the cancer problem. There have 
ways been environmental factors 
at pose a threat to the existence of 
ring beings, and indeed evolution 
is provided biological mechanisms 
I overpowering these villains. These 
echanisms have attained their great- 
it efficiency in the human species and 
ive thereby provided us with supe- 
or longevity. It is paradoxical, how- 
r er, that the improved efficiency of 
ese protective mechanisms is also 
iked with an increased complexity, 
lie more mechanisms we acquire for 
irposes of adaptation, the more com- 
ex become the functions that our 
ills and organ systems must perform 
id the greater the opportunity for 




IN 1962, when the government explored 
our limestone cave as a bomb shelter, they 
came up with a dud. 

What they found, was a spring of iron-free 
water that we use for making Jack Daniels. 
Of course, it made the cave too damp for 
storing food. And too 
cold for storing people. 
According to the govern- 
ment, our kind of cave 
made a terrible bomb 
shelter. But according to 
our friends, it helps make 
a perfect sippin' whiskey. 




CHARCOAL 
MELLOWED 

6 

DROP 

6 

BY DROP 



Tennessee Whiskey • 90 Proof • Distilled and Bottled by Jack Daniel Distillery 
Lem Motlow, Prop., Inc., Lynchburg (Pop. 361), Tennessee 37352 
Placed in the National Register of Historic places by the United States Government 



17 



I Did he expect 
too much from us? 



he eagle has always been a symbol 
•f our highest standards: Pride. Honor, 
honesty. And now both the eagle and 
/hat he represents are in danger of 
lipping away from us. 

At Whirlpool we believe we must 
ill meet the challenge of protecting 
hese standards. We feel it's so impor- 
ant to our way of life that everything 
ve do is directed toward this goal. 

It starts with pride. Pride in our 
Draftsmanship. We follow this basic 
ule: If we can't make something right, 
we won't make it at all. 

And then, most importantly, we be- 
ieve that once we sell something we're 
lonor bound to stand behind it. 

We begin with a warranty our cus- 
:omers can read and understand. We 
feel that if we eliminate confusion we 
:an create confidence. We believe 
:hat's important. 

We also have a special program. 
3ne that deals with a subject nobody 
ikes to talk about: Service. We have to 
De honest about it— even the finest appli- 



ances need repairing at times. So at 
Whirlpool we've developed a "Design- 
For-Service-Program." It means that 
when we build a product we design it 
so it can be repaired quickly and easily. 
If you've ever heard a repairman say, "I 
can fix it, but it'll take a while to get at 
it," then you'll appreciate it all the more. 

Our Cool-Line R service is a toll free 
telephone service that's always there to 
help you. Try it: 800-253-1301. In Mich- 
igan: 800-632-2243. 

We have a Customer Satisfaction 
"Call-Back Audit" where we make ran- 
dom calls just to make sure a warranty 
claim or service call has been handled 
to your satisfaction. It's our way of 
checking up on ourselves. Making sure 
we're living up to our own standards. 

We have these services and we 
have more like them. But at Whirlpool 
we don't consider them just business 
practices. To us they represent a way 
of life. A way of life that includes pride, 
honor and honesty. Standards none of 
us can afford to lose. 



Whirlpool 

A. CORPORATION 



THE CANCER LOTTERY 



things to go wrong. As we look at the 
prevalence of cancer among mammals 
as they are arranged on the evolu- 
tionary tree, it appears that there may 
be a direct correlation between the in- 
creasing complexity of adaptive mech- 
anisms and the increasing frequency 
of cancer. However, this possibility is 
clouded by the fact that animals in the 
wild state rarely attain a sufficiently 
advanced age to become cancer-prone. 

In any event, I have tried to make 
the point here that the attribution of 
cancer to some environmental agent 
does not imply a simple cause-and- 
effect, one-to-one relationship. In addi- 
tion to the agent, there is the ability 
of the body either to convert the en- 
vironmental agent to a carcinogen or, 
conversely, to detoxify it. There are 
also considerations of a multiplicity 
of stresses and tensions associated with 
everyda) living in a competitive, in- 
dustrialized society, the factors of in- 
herited susceptibilities on the one hand 
and inherited adaptive capacities on 
the other, all of which are related to 
longevity. And finally there is the pos- 
sibility that cancer may be directly 
linked with aging. An impartial ap- 
praisal of current strategies guiding 
cancer research suggests that aging 
has the lowest priority. 



Before world war ii the di- 
rection of medical research 
was usually determined by a 
researcher's own intellectual 
goals, and scientists were pretty much 
free to pursue their own interests. 
Barry Commoner once characterized 
progress during this period as depen- 
dent upon serendipity — the chance that 
some scientific discovery would sug- 
gest new lines of research and new 
discoveries. Pre-World War II re- 
search was paid for by universities or 
supported by small grants from patrons 
and a few foundations and companies. 
The first several decades of this cen- 
tury saw, among its discoveries, a con- 
tinuation of the identification of micro- 
organisms that cause human disease, 
the development of vaccines, serums, 
and antibiotics with which to prevent 
or cure infectious diseases, and the 
discovery of insulin, which has saved 
the lives of countless juvenile dia- 
betics. Successes such as these ac- 
counted for about a thirty-year gain in 
life expectancy from 1900 to 1950. 



Since World War II, medical re- 
search has been funded largely by the 
federal government through the Na- 
tional Institutes of Health and the Na- 
tional Science Foundation, supple- 
mented by public donations through 
such organizations as the American 
Cancer Society, the American Heart 
Association, and the American Diabetes 
Association, with small supplemental 
grants from some foundations and 
drug firms. There remains a residue of 
nostalgia for the small-is-beautiful at- 
titude, although the day has long 
passed when one can expect progress 
from scientists working in isolation in 
a small laboratory equipped with a 
student's microscope and some crudely 
constructed pieces of equipment. And 
despite its many faults the present sys- 
tem has had some remarkable successes 
in basic research; particularly relevant 
to cancer and aging are the revolution 
in molecular biology, which has 
brought us to a consideration of util- 
izing genetic engineering to cure some 
diseases, and the rapidly expanding 
field of immunology, which may some- 
day provide a more effective means of 
treating cancer than is currently avail- 
able. 

The medical establishment is not 
devoid of some amusing insights into 
its own weaknesses. A recent article in 
Diabetes Forecast, a publication of the 
American Diabetes Association, notes 
that the 1921 discovery of insulin pro- 
vided a "miracle" that probably 
couldn't happen anymore because 
Banting and Best would not qualify as 
researchers by today's sophisticated 
standards, and because in this brave 
new world of large funding, they would 
not appear to be men of great vision: 

// they had submitted a sixty-page 
grant proposal (in twenty copies) 
properly supported by bibliogra- 
phy, the resulting site inspection 
by their scientific peers would cer- 
tainly have found that results from 
only ten dogs could not be statis- 
tically significant. Anyway, no pro- 
ject of this scope could possibly be 
funded for less than $250,000 an- 
nually for at least ten years in or- 
der to determine the general di- 
rection of this project. . . . The 
grant would, of course, include a 
40-50 percent overhead figure 
which would adequately take care 
of any administrative needs. 

This more or less accurately describes 



the process involved in submitting 
research proposal. It indicates v/ 
"grantsmanship" — the skill necessa 
to formulate such a proposal — has I 
come a teachable subject. 

We seem to think that our medic 
problems can be solved by announcin 
with great fanfare, their epidemic pi 
portions and the need to launch a fu 
scale attack. Nixon's 1971 Cancer Cr 
sade is, by far, the most dramatic ca 
in point. About $1.6 billion was appr 
priated for three years and a critic 
change in policy was initiated. (T 
annual appropriation for the Nation 
Cancer Institute is currently abo 
$800 million.) Cancer research was 
be highly systematized, with specifi 
approved battle plans and a ruling b 
erarchy of both scientists and layme 
including some corporate executives, 
new way of life was dictated to researc 
workers. One of the corporate execi 
tives was quoted in Science: "in tl 
development of atomic power and in tr 
outer-space programs there was a woi 
derful control and a most highly bus 
nesslike type of approach. It is m 
thinking that we must strive to brin 
businesslike methods into the figl 
against cancer." The problem with thi 
analogy is that in the atomic powe 
and space programs the necessary basi 
knowledge was already available an 
needed only to be implemented. Ur 
fortunately, this is not true of cance 
research programs, where basic know] 
edge remains to be discovered. 

One member of the federal cance 
advisory board, Nobel laureate Jame 
D. Watson, charged the Nixon Ac 
ministration's war on cancer wit 
seeking a quick, visible public relation 
success, while undermining the funda 
mental biological research most likel 
to yield a cure. "The sad fact is tha 
there is no way we can effectively plai 
an end to all cancer." The best way V 
make progress, he suggested, is "b; 
strongly encouraging research on a] 
forms of experimental biology insteai 
of restricting substantial funding ti 
direct cancer research." One of th 
gimmicks deriving from the corporal 
mind is something called the cost/ben 
efit ratio (substitute "profit" for "bene 
fit"). This, as every scientist knows 
is not possible for basic research. Th 
solution to the cancer problem is a 
likely to come from someone with ai 
inconsequentially small grant as fron 
some highly organized cancer progran 



20 



S orted by vast funding. In an ar- 

I in The Sciences, Charles McCutch- 

I I physicist at NIH, contends that 
i| government has encouraged a mis- 

■ irstanding of the nature of scienti- 
11 esearch. Research is gambles that 
II sionally succeed, usually in unex- 
I ;d directions, and whose practical 
I »ff is a sure winner; but the odds 

■ ring the success of a single project 
| small. And Alvin Weinberg points 

.in a Science editorial that the de- 
on most matters at the intersec- 
of science and society is largely 
lucted in public. When scientists 
•ess opinions in a public forum 
are not subject to the discipline 
caution that regulate opinions ex- 
.sed in journals. As a consequence 
extrascientific debate is too often 
sponsible, and half-truths are per- 
ated on the public. 



jA T present, doubtful informa- 
f^k tion is presented to the pub- 
-m lie as fact. Only about 5-10 
jk. percent of cancers appear to 
job-related, not the much-cited 
j;er percentages approaching 80—90 
cent. No rational person should op- 
.e the removal of environmental 
,ards, whether job-related or not, 
at the same time the public should 
be misled into believing that if the 
•ironment is purified, cancer will 
lish. 

The emphasis for the moment is on 
mention, not only of cancer but also 
other chronic and degenerative con- 
ions. Prevention has an intrinsic 
;ic, but is it realistic? In addition to 
anges in living habits, enthusiasts 
vocate regular medical examinations, 
it the cynics have been through much 
this over the past twenty-five years 
d see little evidence of improved 
rvival. As Lewis Thomas writes, 

In the midst of this argument, new 
voices are being raised in an ef- 
fort to simplify the whole problem 
of disease by blaming it, simply, on 
wrong living. Suddenly, hygiene has 
been rediscovered. If you want to 
avoid heart disease, eat less ani- 
mal fat and ride your bicycle. Hy- 
pertension is a result of social 
stress. Cancer is totally and com- 
prehensively explained by external 
contaminants in the environment; 
get rid of these and thus be rid of 
cancer. Live a more sensible life, 
get plenty of sleep and a good 



breakfast, give up smoking and 
drinking, eat less, and you can 
stretch out your life by eleven or 
twelve extra years. 

He points out further that the con- 
quest of infectious disease was not an 
overnight phenomenon, but required 
some sixty years of painstaking re- 
search. We have been engaged in con- 
centrated research on cancer and other 
age-related diseases for only about 
twenty-five years. 

The reality is that these diseases are 
much more complex in their origin, 
prevention, and treatment than the 
simplistic one-liners provided to the 
news media by the Medical Establish- 
ment. The public should be made aware 
of a fact that is common knowledge 
among gerontologists: The eradication 
of cancer would add only one to two 
years to human life expectancy as com- 
pared with about ten years for all 
forms of arteriosclerosis. The poten- 
tial gain in life expectancy if the rate 
of aging could be slowed — and the 
possible influence of such a strategy 
on the frequency of cancer, arterio- 
sclerosis, and other diseases of aging 
— has not even received serious con- 
sideration. For every $2 we spend on 
cancer research, only about 3 cents 
funds research on aging. 

Burnet sums up the issue of cancer 
causes as follows : 

Despite some seventy years' inten- 
sive scientific work aimed at iden- 
tifying a cause or a series of causes 
of human cancer, the only demo- 
graphically significant success has 
been to establish that polycyclic 
hydrocarbons taken into the body 
in cigarette smoke or by various 
forms of industrial exposure can 
cause cancer from prolonged and 
extensive action. A number of in- 
dustrial examples of cancer induc- 
tion by other types of material are 
known, but involve a small number 
of people. Many other chemicals or 
viral agents have been suggested, 
but for the present the evidence 
for their importance involves only 
animals other than man. 

If this is a fair assessment of the cur- 
rent status of research on causes of 
cancer, then it is certainly high time 
to examine, comprehensively, the role 
of aging in the development of malig- 
nant disease. □ 



harper's/september 1978 



Well-known author and N ew Y orker 
contributor Emily Hahn examines new 
discoveries m animal communication, 
what they tell us about animals — and 
about ourselves. 

Loot Whos Talking 1 provide^ "a 
gracefully written, lucid roundup of 
the newest scientific theories about 
the potential of animals to communi- 
cate with people."— Publishers Weekly 

Look Who's 
Talking! 

by Emily Hahn 




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21 



SEMINAR IN AFRICAN DIPLOMACY 



In which Americans might take notes from the French 



by Ken Adelnu 



THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT has 
an African policy which is 
not ours," the Belgian For- 
eign Minister said last May. 
Nor ours either, the American Secre- 
tary of State could well add. Theirs 
succeeds while ours fails. 

French policy toward Africa glis- 
tens with professional handling and 
moves steadily toward its goals. Ameri- 
can- poKcy toward Africa reeks of 
amateur improvisation and wanders 
about aimlessly. French policy has 
clear objectives: greater glory and 
riches throughout the continent. U.S. 
policy lacks firm purpose, occasionally 
stressing black-white problems, at oth- 
er times blue-red competition as a re- 
sult of Communist encroachments; one 
day lauding majority rule, another day 
cozying up to an array of black dic- 
tators. 

With but one captain — President 
Valery Giscard d'Estaing — overseeing 
the drive to expand French power in 
Africa, France has tactics that are prag- 
matic, resolute, and tough, as the Tanza- 
nians learned last year. When Foreign 
Minister Louis de Guiringaud made a 
pilgrimage to spread French influence 
beyond its African perimeter, he was 
met at the Dar es Salaam airport 



by raucous demonstrators protesting 
France's massive arms shipments to 
South Africa. The French minister de- 
manded that the rabble be removed. 
Aware of Tanzania's strong one-man 
rule, he ignored the hastily concocted 
excuse that Tanzania was a free coun- 
try that encouraged democratic expres- 
sions. He cared little that Kissinger's 
arrival had been protested at the same 
airport a year earlier. Nor did the min- 
ister acknowledge the validity of the 
protestors' point — that France was for- 
tifying South Africa. France's honor 
was at stake, and that was that. 

"Mr. Minister, I hold you responsi- 
ble for this demonstration," de Guirin- 
gaud informed his Tanzanian counter- 
part. "If you do not make the demon- 
strators shut up, I will leave imme- 
diately." The demonstrators were not 
shut up, and the minister left within a 
matter of hours. His planned high-lev- 
el talks were aborted. But no matter. 
France would deal with Tanzania when 
Tanzania was ready to deal with 
France — on the basis of mutual re- 
spect. There would be no cowering 
merely because the Tanzanians hap- 
pened to be black Africans. 

The cowering would be left to the 
Americans, whose various self-pro- 




claimed captains of African policy-l 
Vice-President Mondale, Secretary I 
State Vance, National Security Advis 
Brzezinski, U.N. Ambassador Young- 
with their panoply of vague, oft-co 
flicting goals, have proved vacillatii 
and accommodating, as the Nigeria 
learned this year. 

\\ hen President Carter landed at tl 
Lagos airport, he was becoming a 
gravated by Soviet-Cuban aggrandiz 
ment in Africa. At least he said so, bol 
then and later during various meeting 
His host was skeptical. Lt. Gen. Olus 
gun Obasanjo, Nigeria's chief of stat 
insisted that Africa's problem was n< 
Communism but racism. Most dastan 
ly were Ian Smith and his black c< 
horts in the Rhodesian internal settli 
ment. 

In the final so-called joint commi 
nique, the Nigerians inserted a hars 
condemnation of the internal setth 
ment, far harsher than the U.S. ha 
ever ventured. The Americans trie 
but failed to gain even a passing mer 
tion of Communist encroachments i: 
Africa. Both leaders smiled as the 
signed the document, but the Nigerian 
particularly enjoyed the moment. Th 
President of the United States, cajole« 
by an amalgam of black power df 
mands and feelings of white guilt, ha< 
adopted an enunciation of strictly N: 
gerian foreign policy as a Nigerian 
U.S. joint communique. 

He returned home with a self-depre 
eating pronouncement: "The day c 
the so-called ugly American is over, 
as if it had ever existed in Africa. It' 
no wonder France has enjoyed decade 
of triumph in Africa while the I .S. ha 
been afflicted Avith years of trials an 
mostly tribulations. 

Ken Adelman lived and studied in Ajric 
from 1972 to 1975 and was Assistant to th 
Secretary oj Defense from 1975 to 1976. H 
is currently a freelance writer in Washing 
ton, D.C., and a consultant to the Stan j or 
Research Institute. 



22 



— "^rance sets out to please no 

Hone (save itself) and somehow 
ends up friendly with nearly 
U - everyone. It applauded and as- 
i| d the independence of Biafra but 
U enjoys cordial relations with Ni- 
IJ a, where de Guiringaud visited 
D February sans demonstrations. 
I ;wise it supported the pro-West 
U 'ements in Angola — and still pro- 
it « millions for the resistance 
I ement, UNITA (National Union 
1 the Total Independence of Angola) 
|j nd yet was the first European state 
U nally to recognize the victorious 
I rxist MPLA (Popular Movement 
t the Liberation of Angola). It con- 
I mtes enormous economic, cultural, 
J 1 even security assistance to Alge- 
while arming and diplomatically 
4 mpioning its foes, Morocco and 
1 uritania, in the battle for the sand 
I les once known as the Spanish Sa- 
| - a. It has sound relations with all 
es of all the "liberation struggles" 
I eloping southern Africa. 
[The U.S. intends to please every - 
e, but only reaps ill will. We some- 
I managed to enrage both South 
rica and the neighboring black 
t.tes, particularly Tanzania, whose 
esident, Julius Nyerere, was fawned 
er last year at the White House. We 
ve incensed Angola and its resis- 
ace movements as Administration 
icials first moved to help subvert the 
igolan government in May and then 
work closely with it in June. The 
S. has been denounced by both sides 
the Saharan war, castigated by the 
ultitude of factions ravaging the 
orn, and condemned by all parties in 
hodesia's guerrilla conflict. 
France's policy remains realpolitik, 
noral and persistent. Africa is, after 
1, the one continent where France 
in still sustain a sphere of influence, 
emaining outside the NATO military 
ructure, France is of second-rate im- 
)rtance on its own continent, incon 
quential in Asia and Latin America, 
id of interest in the Middle East only 
i the arms merchant nonpareil. In 
frica, however, France continues to 
ign supreme. 

At times the French President grows 
isty-eyed when reflecting on his be- 
ved continent: "I think the natural 
;auty of the continent is unique. I 
ve the African character . . . that wis- 
>m, that simplicity, that humanity, 
at equality, and I have always felt, 



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23 



SEMINAR IN AFRICAN DIPLOMACY 



as the ancients did, that Africa was a 
sort of mother continent for mankind." 

Behind the earnestness lies similar 
French esteem for that nasty element 
still at the center of international re- 
lations: power. France is as keenly 
aware of its worth as it is comfortable 
in its use. The same holds true of 
Africans, whose traditional religions 
revere power — that force which can 
heal wounds, bind the family and tribe, 
destroy the intruder, and preserve the 
spirit after death. French and African 
leaders thus understand one another. 
They can sit in Paris — as Giscard did 
in June with top officials from more 
than half of all African states — and 
appreciate the value of power by devis- 
ing mutual security arrangements. 

The Americans prefer to talk about 
morality. While Giscard ponders ter- 
restrial dangers with his Africans, Mr. 
Carter concentrates on celestial bliss 
with his. A good portion of Mr. Car- 
ter's Nigerian stopover was taken up 
by his leading the Lagos First Baptist 
Church in service, as his fellow-Bap- 
tist host recited Sunday school lessons. 
Carter views and employs power with 
religious ambivalence, as something 
frightful and corrupting, and yet tan- 
talizing. He exhorts others on to good- 
ness and truth, but falters on discov- 
ering the steep and thorny path to 
modest improvements in this fallen 
world of ours. Even the columnist Max 
Lerner has qualms over such a propen- 
sity: "What people respond to in a 
President is a sense of power, author- 
ity, and command. If they want virtue, 
they will turn to preachers and to 
saints." 

The President's acolyte on Africa, 
the cleric-turned-diplomat Andrew- 
Young, is even more out of tune with 
African views of life and power. "The 
attempt to solve problems in Africa 
militarily does no good at all," he 
proclaimed profoundly. This is fine for 
him but not for the pro-West Africans 
clamoring for protection. Young stands 
as a last living apostle of the Citizens 
Exchange Corps gospel: If enough 
Americans and foreigners discover one 
another's basic humanity, then prob- 
lems between their nations will some- 
how dissolve. American policy thus 
reflects the image of happy African 
innocents prancing under mango trees 
unconcerned about threats to their 
bliss. 

With the score of conflicts that have 



now occurred in Africa, French and 
African leaders are keenly aware of 
the constant threat of internal or for- 
eign opposition to pro-West regimes. 
Before 1975, African defense budgets 
accounted for a minuscule one-twen- 
tieth of all Third World military ex- 
penditures. Cubans can swashbuckle 
so freely on the continent because 
African forces are lackluster, to say 
the least. According to press reports 
last May, one African government, 
that of the Comoro Islands, was over- 
thrown by a handful of bored ruffians. 
The Frenchman, "Colonel Daddy" Bob 
Denard of Katangan mercenary fame, 
reportedly was the ringleader. 

During his campaign, Carter de- 
nounced the "unsavory business" of 
American arms transfers to Africa. 
This upset many African heads of state 
but delighted the French, who seized 
the market and doubled their arms 
sales last year alone from SI. 9 billion 
worldwide in 1976 to a shade less than 
S4 billion in 1977. The French assume 
that African leaders are not remark- 
ably different from those elsewhere, 
that they are apprehensive about 
threats to national security, unpleasant 
as the topic may be. American officials 
work from different assumptions, name- 
ly, that economic development consti- 
tutes the end-all and be-all of African 
consciousness. 

France delivers the goods where and 
when needed, even if it takes some 
sleight-of-hand work. The French were 
wounded by the accusation that they 
had supplied Somalia with tanks dur- 
ing the Ogaden war. Indeed, they had 
not. They merely sent tanks to Saudi 
Arabia, which sent tanks to Egypt, 
which in turn sent Soviet-made tanks 
to supplement those already in Soma- 
lia. France quietly pleased these three 
important pro-West nations by play- 
ing musical tanks while it avoided an- 
gering Ethiopia, which understandably 
was totally baffled. The U.S. mean- 
while offended everyone in sight, first 
Ethiopia by promising Somalia exten- 
sive weapons, and then Somalia and its 
friends by reneging on the pledge. 

France has spread its wings over its 
former nest and other black African 
fledglings as well. It makes no bones 
about its role as mother protector. The 
U.S. composed the diplomatic par- 
lance — "African solutions to African 
problems" — and stuns everyone by tak- 
ing it literally. The French have adopt- 



ed a variant on the same theme tb 
nimbly reverses the meaning. Forei) 
Minister de Guiringaud says, " 'Afri 
for the Africans' means that the Af: 
cans should be able to settle their ov 
problems without interference fro 
powers which have no ties to Africa 
Thus France, with its extensive "ti 
to Africa," can interfere whenever ar 
wherever it chooses, while the S 
viets, Cubans, and even America] 
cannot, according to the de Guiri 
gaud Doctrine. 

French ACTIVISM started lor 
ago. When the early Sixtii 
ushered in the age of Africa 
decolonization, France adjus 
ed by altering the nature but not th 
intensity of its links. It recognize 
political independence in Africa whi 
retaining economic interdependenc 
and acknowledging security depei 
dence on the metropole. Charles d 
Gaulle became the continent's idol b 
sending the forces out to Africa thre 
times during his eleven years in power 
Giscard. hardly le grand Charles, fel 
the need to prove himself, and so di< 
better. Over the past year alone, he ha 
sent troops to fight in Africa on fou 
different fronts. "If there's a soldie 
who likes soldiering," a foreign diplo 
mat remarked in Paris, "the best arm) 
for him to be in these days is th« 
French." Off he goes to Chad. Mauri 
tania. Djibouti, or Zaire. 

When the situation becomes too ter 
rible. Paris summons the legendan 
Foreign Legion. Their casualties hav< 
no political repercussions, since legion 
naires must be foreign-born l most nov 
are German | . Besides, they thrive ir 
bawdy and bloody conflict. Recently 
dispatched to Zaire — the first choic* 
assignment since Chad in 1970, and th< 
first ever outside former French colo 
nies — the crack mercenary force ter 
rorized everyone around Shaba, just a< 
it normally terrorizes everyone arounc 
its home base of Corsica. Whites wen 
rescued, blacks were chased. "Than! 
God for the French," a Belgian en 
gineer said while being evacuatec 
from Kolwesi. "Belgian leaders are no 
men." Zaire's President Mobutu Ses< 
Seko lauded the French for "shedding 
their blood for stability . . . fulfilling 
its commitment to its African partner; 
while certain other powers are conten 
to use pious words." 



24 



SEMINAR IN AFRICAN DIPLOMACY 



Diplomacy, to convolute von Clause- 
witz, is warfare by other means. The 
French mount these battles with equal 
proficiency. Under both de Gaulle and 
Pompidou, the commander was Jac- 
ques Foccart, the bald and plump 
eminence grise who commanded all 
intelligence gathering, covert opera- 
tions, and — no coincidence — France's 
relations throughout Africa. As a re- 
sult of Foccart's initiatives and his 
colleagues', France has emerged from 
the southern Africa political minefield 
relatively unscathed. To please Preto- 
ria, Paris has sent South Africa more 
than four-fifths of its arms imports 
during the first half of this decade. 
To mollify black Africa, Paris has 
promised to stop sending these vast 
quantities of weapons. So moving has 
the performance proven that it has 
evoked encore after encore. Giscard 
has now racked up four dramatic an- 
nouncements of French arms embar- 
goes to South Africa. 

Not surprisingly, French officials 
avoid discussing this rather delicate 
matter. The semiofficial Zambian Times 
writes, "In polite language, Paris has 
told its critics not to poke their noses 
into something that doesn't concern 
them." Tanzania's Nyerere tried to 
poke but gave up. "Of all Western 
countries, France is the biggest sup- 
porter of racialism in South Africa," 
he noted. "But she has many friends 
in Africa and it is difficult to criticize 
her at the OAU [Organization of Afri- 
can Unity]." 

Articles abound in African news- 
papers about alleged violations (nev- 
er proven ) of the 1963 U.S. total arms 
embargo. Scant mention has been made 
of the enormous French flow, which 
Paris claims has slowed, if not ceased, 
since the 1977 U.N. mandatory arms 
embargo against South Africa. The 
U.S. is attacked for the most inconse- 
quential uranium deals with South 
Africa, while France gleefully sells the 
white regime nuclear power plants 
worth $1 billion and welcomes dele- 
gation upon delegation of its atomic 
scientists for joint research in Paris. 

All the while, France unashamedly 
trumpets its ties to the various libera- 
tion efforts. The hear! of the French 
Socialist party said this so-called even- 
handed stance is "laughable consider- 
ing that Vorster gets the Mirages while 
the guerrilla fighters get a few sacks 
of wheat." If somehow the outsiders 



become insiders and acquire power — 
as did the MPLA in Angola — then 
France will be pleased to do business 
with them. 

For the French are pursuing riches, 
as well as diplomatic glory and mili- 
tary victory. The Belgian Foreign Minis- 
ter said in April, "Everyone knows that 
France has been interested in African 
countries that have rich resources." 
Since Paris opted for nuclear pow- 
er to counter a potential supply short- 
age of other fuels, it has befriended 
Chad, Niger, Gabon, Mali, and Zaire 
— all countries with sizable uranium 
reserves. 

Pursuit of the radioactive magic can 
take on grotesque dimensions. The 
French government financed the train- 
ing of 30 black soldiers to ride white 
stallions and accompany the gilded 
carriage of Emperor Bokassa I during 
his Napoleonic self-coronation in the 
poverty-stricken Central African Repub- 
lic (now Empire) last year. Paris 
paid S2 million for a fleet of Mercedes 
automobiles and 200 BMW motorcy- 
cles to cruise over the dirt roads. 
Charged with courting the world's new- 
est emperor by orchestrating these an- 
tics was none other than Jacques Gis- 
card d'Estaing. Cousin Jacques, it 
should be noted, is financial head of 
France's Atomic Energy Commission 
and more than mildly interested in 
Bokassaland's uranium reserves, worth 
an estimated $125 million. 



THE U.S., NEVER MIXING politics 
and charity, sets out in quix- 
otic fashion to meet the needs 
of the "poorest of the poor." 
France shows no such inclination to 
replace the Red Cross. Its friends 
are numerous. Giscard rightly said, 
"France is the only country in the 
world today to have a solid network 
of friendship in Africa." Far from es- 
tablishing such a network, the U.S. 
selects one black state, which it con- 
siders the "key" to Africa, and courts 
it furiously. Zaire used to be America's 
darling on the continent but has been 
jilted for Nigeria. Ambassador Young 
is simply mad about that oil-endowed 
state (far more corrupt than even 
Zaire) and has called Nigeria "an en- 
lightened nation" and "a world pow- 
er." He told the Administration's fa- 
vorite public forum for its private 
thoughts. Playboy, that, yes, U.S.-Ni- 



gerian relations had been strained i 
the past. But what could one expect 
"Kissinger didn't like to deal with N: 
geria," Young said in his interview 
"because Nigerians are arrogant, pov. 
erful black folk" — certainly not th 
type one imagines Kissinger chummin 
around with. But Young can handl 
Nigeria, America's current great blacl 
hope. Even if a government-controlle< 
Nigerian newspaper welcomed Ambas 
sador Young on his first visit ther 
with the headline send a nigger t< 
catch A nigger, well that's just a sigi 
of adolescent adoration. Even if Nige 
ria continues to affront the U.S. a;, 
often as Russia or anyone else does 
well that's just a sign of passionatf 
concern. 

France has a strong basis for its 
"network of friendship": its friends 
share its culture and speak French, a 
powerful bond, particularly in Wes' 
Africa, where few native languages have 
a written form. As the regional Neu 
York Times correspondent writes, 
"From the desert scrub of Chad to the 
steaming mangrove swamps of Came- 
roon, it is possible to sit in a cafe on a 
boulevard named de Gaulle and order 
salad and pastry flown in from Paris." 

The French, after all, aren't racists. 
They're just cultural snobs, convinced 
that theirs is the world's true Middle 
Kingdom. They delight when African 
elites are educated in Paris — as most 
are — and become thoroughly Frenchi- 
fied. The most casual observer in Da- 
kar or Abidjan cannot help but notice 
the snazzily clad black youth with tight 
shirts, huge bell-bottoms, and the Pari- 
sian look of disdain for those with 
cumbersome French accents. 

Once absorbed in French culture, 
Africans seldom escape. Former pro- 
fessor of French history and literature 
and now President of Senegal, Leopold 
Senghor. and Ivory Coast President 
Felix Houphouet-Boigny — both of 
whom served in the French Parliament 
during colonial times — consider their 
cultural heritage predominantly French. 
A Gabonese official said outright, "We 
are very French and we are proud of 
it." His tiny, mineral-rich nation, rath- 
er typically for West Africa, is dom- 
inated by the French. Gabon's post 
office contains three slots: for local 
mail, international mail, and mail des- 
tined for France. Some 30.000 of the 
countrv's 600.000 population are 
French (nearly the same proportion 



26 



From Merriam-Webster, 

the first totally new 
Thesaurus in 120 years. 



vhites in Rhodesia). French na- 
ils run the restaurants, internal 
rity, and most government agen- 
Gabon's President regularly tells 
:heir great fortune in having a 
ich heritage. 

he French return the compliment, 
try by Senghor and other Africans 
widely read in Parisian salons, 
ich art often draws its inspiration 
o African sources- — a 1907 Picasso 
ring entitled Dancer is but a series 
Bakota fetishes from Gabon, 
erican cultural links to Africa are 
fined to our black population, a tie 
•e mystical than substantive. De- 
romantic dreams of the blacks' 
nification with the homeland, as 
pagated by Marcus Garvey and im- 
d in Roots, American blacks are 
ingers on the continent. Eldridge 
aver discovered this, as have scores 
slacks returned from Liberia, where 
discovery of true identity eluded 
m. 

"or their part. Africans treat black 
lericans as strangers, and inferior 
;s at that. Black L .S. missionaries 
Zaire, for example, were shunned 
Africans, who preferred white gos- 
-spreaders. Two years ago when a 
kck U.S. Army officer was sent to 
?n the military attache office in an 
rican state, the hosts were indignant, 
e Foreign Minister whispered to our 
abassador that Washington should 
re enough to send the best: the black 
icer was quietly replaced by a white. 
This absence of cultural ties to Afri- 
deprives the L .S. of a firm founda- 
n for good relations there. It also 
lps perpetuate the myth that some- 
w Africans are exotic, incomprehen- 
)le, wondrously different. Conse- 
lently, while France has taken Africa 
riously, through decades of forth- 
iht dealings person-to-person and 
ition-to-nation. America has either 
nored the continent or. more recent- 
, fawned over African leaders to gain 
eir affection. 

Ambassador Young — recently called 
eally an innocent" on Africa by a 
igerian official — said last May, "We 
e much better off in Africa now. at 
is moment, if you analvze it objec- 
. r ely, than we have been for the last 
:cade." It's nice someone thinks so. 
o need for de Guiringaud to make a 
railar boast for France, since nearly 
eryone thinks so. 

harper's/september 1978 




Thesauruses have not 
| changed significantly for over 
a century; most are merely 
rearrangements of Roger's 
work, first published in 1852. But now comes Webster's 
Collegiate Thesaurus . As soon as you look at one page, you'll 
know the difference. It's as fast and easy to use as a dictionary. 

No complicated cross-references here. Instead, over 100.000 
synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic phrases, related words, and con- 
trasted words are at your fingertips in simple alphabetical listing. 
An organizational tour de force. New from Merriam-Webster. 
Just $9.95. wherever books are sold. 

Merriam-Webster. Springfield. Mass. 01101 



glance 369 

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AGAINST CIVIL DISARMAMENT 



On the futility of prohibiting guns by Don B. Kates, J] 



DESPITE ALMOST 100 years of 
often bitter debate, federal 
policy and that of 44 states 
continues to allow handguns 
to any sane adult who is without fel- 
ony convictions. Over the past twenty 
years, as some of our most progressive 
citizens have embraced the notion that 
handgun confiscation would reduce vi- 
olent crime, the idea of closely restrict- 
ing handgun possession to police and 
those with police permits has been ste- 
reotyped as "liberal." Yet when the 
notion of sharply restricting pistol own- 
ership first gained popularity, in the 
late nineteenth century, it was under 
distinctly conservative auspices. 

In 1902, South Carolina banned all 
pistol purchases, the first and only 
state ever to do so. (This was nine 
years before New York began requir- 
ing what was then an easily acquired 
police permit.) Tennessee had already 
enacted the first ban on "Saturday 
Night Specials," disarming blacks and 
the laboring poor while leaving weap- 
ons for the Ku Klux Klan and com- 
pany goons. In 1906, Mississippi en- 



acted the first mandatory registration 
law for all firearms. In short order, 
permit requirements were enacted in 
North Carolina, Missouri, Michigan, 
and Hawaii. In 1922, a national cam- 
paign of conservative business interests 
for handgun confiscation was endorsed 
by the (then) archconservative Amer- 
ican Bar Association. 

Liberals at that time were not nec- 
essarily opposed in principle to a ban 
on handguns, but they considered such 
a move irrelevant and distracting from 
a more important issue — the prohibi- 
tion of alcohol. To Jane Addams, Wil- 
liam Jennings Bryan, and Eleanor 
Roosevelt (herself a pistol carrier), 
liquor was the cause of violent crime. 
(Before dismissing this out of hand, 
remember that homicide studies uni- 
formly find liquor a more prevalent 
factor than handguns in killings.) Be- 

Formerly a civil rights worker and OEO 
poverty lawyer, Don B. Kates, Jr., now teach- 
es constitutional and criminal law and pro- 
cedure at St. Louis University while main- 
taining a civil liberties practice in San 
Francisco. 



sides, liberals were not likely to suj 
port the argument advanced by coi 
servatives for gun confiscation: thi 
certain racial and immigrant group 
were so congenitally criminal (and 
or politically dangerous) that the 
could not be trusted with arms. Bij 
when liberalism finally embraced hanc 
gun confiscation, it was by applyin; 
this conservative viewpoint to the en 
tire populace. Now it is all American) 
(not just Italians, Jews, or blacks; 
who must be considered so innately vi 
olent and unstable that they cannot b<| 
trusted with arms. For, we are told, i 
is not robbers or burglars who com 
mit most murders, but average cit 
izens killing relatives or friends. 

It is certainly true that only a litth 
more than 30 percent of murders ar( 
committed by robbers, rapists, or bur 
glars, while 45 percent are committee 
among relatives or between lovers 
(The rest are a miscellany of contrac 
killings, drug wars, and "circumstance; 
unknown.") But it is highly mislead 
ing to conclude from this that the mur 
derer is, in any sense, an average gur 



T COSTS A LOT OF MONEY TO MAKE PEOPLE THINK 



"Trucking" is an essential industry. Yet every year the 
ATA Foundation spends approximately $1.5 million dol- 
lars to "explain trucking" to the public it serves. Incredi- 
ble? No, not if you've seen the many advertise- 
ments in national magazines, heard them on radio, or 
viewed them on TV. These advertisements, signed 
jointly by members and the Foundation have 

been running for 25 years. 

Why? Because the average citizen (who votes) and 
legislator (who makes laws) knows far less about the 
trucking industry — its aims, needs, problems and 
enormous importance to our economy— than they know 
about automobile manufacturing or farming. Yet neither 
of these could exist without truck service. Nor could 
supermarkets function, medicines reach pharmacies or 
building materials be delivered to the building site. 
Trucks carry almost all the products of America— from 
raw materials to finished merchandise— to every city, 
town and hamlet. Trucks carry goods, all kinds, to the 
people who need it. 

It's unthinkable, but if all trucks stopped deliveries 
today— our economy would begin to collapse tomorrow. 

Nevertheless, this steady and expensive advertising is 
necessary. Advertisements such as this one are in a 
sense the trucking industry's health insurance. They are 
run to "educate" and "inform" citizens, public officials 
and law-makers— so that they can think and act wisely 
on issues that can help or harm a sensitive industry. An 
uninformed, unthinking electorate could crumble one of 
the foundation stones that supports the highest standard 
of living in the world. 

For example, issues like these: 
DEREGULATION 

Certain advertisements explain why the trucking industry 
is solidly against "deregulation". It is most important that 
law-makers understand this. The Motor Carrier Act of 
1935 was designed to protect the public interest by main- 
taining an orderly and reliable transportation system, by 
minimizing duplication of services and by reducing 
financial instability. It is an excellent law that does just 
that. "Deregulation" would mean that fleet owners would 




AMERICAN TRUCKING INDUSTRY 



NOT be compelled to distribute goods to small out-of- 
the-way towns; truck service would be spotty; vicious 
competition would erupt for the limited profitable routings 
and shipping costs elsewhere would skyrocket. Invest- 
ment "capital" for trucking operation, new replacement 
equipment and service expansion would flee from the 
resulting melee. 

THE HIGHWAY TRUST FUND 

Other advertisements explain why the trucking industry 
is one of the strongest defenders of the Highway Trust 
Fund. The Fund was established in 1956. It was created 
and designed for a specific purpose: to build the vast 
interstate highway system. Today— these interstate net- 
works get you from here to there, faster and more safely. 
If you drive a car, you pay about $38 a year into the Fund 
in user taxes. Trucks, which comprise only 18.8% of all 
the vehicles on the road, pay 41.8% of these taxes. 
Special interest groups, however, repeatedly pressure 
Congress to divert Highway Trust Fund money to other 
programs, such as rapid-transit systems for big cities. If 
that happens— the superb road system you are paying 
for will not be completed. The ATA Foundation adver- 
tisements try to make that vital point understood. 

SERVICE & SAFETY 

Yet other advertisements describe the rules that trucking 
companies make for their drivers— rules for driving cour- 
tesy, abiding by the laws, vehicle design and handling 
practices to improve highway safety. Did you know that 
now the industry is collaborating with government agen- 
cies to find a way to control the splash and spray of big 
rigs on wet highways— so the truck wake does not impair 
the vision ot following and passing drivers? This costs 
money too. 

Monsanto has a deep respect for the trucking industry. 
Not only do the truckers who serve us have a commend- 
able record for the transport of our agricultural chemi- 
cals, man-made fibers, plastics and petrochemicals 
(upwards of a thousand different products)— but the 
trucking companies are also solid corporate citizens. We 
are proud to be associated with such a responsive and 
responsible industry. And to help in making its voice 
heard. 



Monsanto 



AGAINST CIVIL DISARMAMENT 

owner. For the most part, murderers 
are disturbed, aberrant individuals 
with long records of criminal violence 
that often include several felony con- 
victions. In terms of endangering his 
fellow citizen, the irresponsible drinker 
is far more representative of all drink- 
ers than is the irresponsible handgun- 
ner of all handgunners. It is not my 
intention here to defend the character 
of the average American handgun 
owner against, say, that of the aver- 
age Swiss whose government not only 
allows, but requires, him to keep a ma- 
chine gun at home. Rather it is to show 
how unrealistic it is to think that we 
could radically decrease homicide by 
radically reducing the number of ci- 
vilian firearms. Study after study has 
shown that even if the average gun 
owner complied with a ban, the one 
handgun owner out of 3,000 who mur- 
ders (much less the one in 500 who 
steals) is not going to give up his 
guns. Nor would taking guns away 
from the murderer make much differ- 
ence in murder rates, since a sociopath 
with a long history of murderous as- 
sault is not too squeamish to kill with 
a butcher knife, ice pick, razor, or bot- 
tle. As for the extraordinary murder- 
ers — assassins, terrorists, hit men — 
proponents of gun bans themselves 
concede that the law cannot disarm 
such people any more than it can dis- 
arm professional robbers. 

THE repeated appearance of 
these facts in studies of vio- 
lent crime has eroded liberal 
and intellectual support for 
banning handguns. There is a grow- 
ing consensus among even the most 
liberal students of criminal law and 
criminology that handgun confiscation 
is just another plausible theory that 
doesn't work when tried. An article 
written in 1068 by Mark K. Benen- 
son, longtime American chairman of 
Amnesty International, concludes that 
the arguments for gun bans are based 
upon selective misleading statistics, 
simple-minded non sequiturs, and ba- 
sic misconceptions about the nature of 
murder as well as of other violent 
crimes. 

A 1971 study at England's Cam- 
bridge University confounds one of 
the most widely believed non sequiturs: 
"Banning handguns must work, be- 
cause England does and look at its 



crime rate!" (It is difficult to see how 
those who believe this can resist the 
equally simple-minded pro-gun argu- 
ment that gun possession deters crime: 
"Everybody ought to have a machine 
gun in his house because the Swiss 
and the Israelis do, and look how low 
their crime rates are!") 

The Cambridge report concludes that 
social and cultural factors (not gun 
control) account for Britain's low vi- 
olence rates. It points out that "the use 
of firearms in crime was very much 
less" before 1920 when Britain had 
"no controls of any sort." Corrobora- 
ting this is the comment of a former 
head of Scotland Yard that in the mid- 
1950s there were enough illegal hand- 
guns to supply any British criminal 
who wanted one. But, he continued, 
the social milieu was such that if a 
criminal killed anyone, particularly a 
policeman, his own confederates would 
turn him in. When this violence-damp- 
ening social milieu began to dissipate 
between 1960 and 1975. the British 
homicide rate doubled (as did the 
American rate), while British robbery 
rates accelerated even faster than those 
in America. As the report notes, the 
vaunted handgun ban proved complete- 
ly ineffective against rising violence in 
Britain, although the government fran- 
tically intensified enforcement and ex- 
tended controls to long guns as well. 
Thus, the Cambridge study — the only 
in-depth study ever done of English gun 
laws — recommends "abolishing or sub- 
stantially reducing controls" because 
their administration involves an im- 
mense, unproductive expense and di- 
verts police resources from programs 
that might reduce violent crime. 

The latest American study of gun 
controls was conducted with federal 
funding at the University of Wiscon- 
sin. Advanced computerized techniques 
allowed a comprehensive analysis of 
the effect of every form of state hand- 
gun restriction, including complete 
prohibition, on violence in America. 
Published in 1975, it concludes that 
"gun-control laws have no individual 
or collective effect in reducing the rate 
of violent crime." 

Many previous studies reaching the 
same conclusion had been discounted 
by proponents of a federal ban, who 
argued that existing state bans cannot 
be effective because handguns are il- 
legally imported from free-sale states. 
The V\ isconsin study compared rates 



of handgun ownership with rates of \ 
olence in various localities, but it cou 
find no correlation. If areas whe 
handgun ownership rates are high ha 
no higher per capita rates of homici. 
and other violence than areas whe 
such rates are low, the utility of la\ 
designed to lower the rates of han 
gun ownership seems dubious. Agai 
the problem is not the "proliferate 
of handguns" among the law-abidir 
citizenry, it is the existence of a tii 
fraction of irresponsible and crimin 
owners whom the law cannot possib 
disarm of these or other weapons. 

Far from refuting the Wiscons 
study, the sheer unenforceability ( 
handgun bans is the main reason w\ 
most experts regard them as not wort 
thinking about. Even in Britain, 
country that, before handguns wei 
banned, had less than 1 percent of tl 
per capita handgun ownership we hav 
the Cambridge study reports that "fi 
ty years of very strict controls has le 
a vast pool of illegal weapons." 

It should be emphasized that liben 
defectors from gun confiscation are n 
more urging people to arm themselvf 
than are those who oppose banning pc 
or liquor necessarily urging people t 
indulge in them. They are only savin 
that national handgun confiscatio 
would bring the federal governmer 
into a confrontation with millions o 
responsible citizens in order to enforc 
a program that would have no effec 
upon violence, except the negative on 
of diverting resources that otherwis 
might be utilized to some effective pui 
pose. While many criminologists hav 
doubts about the wisdom of citizen 
trying to defend themselves with hand 
guns, the lack of evidence to justif} 
confiscation requires that this remaii 
a matter of individual choice rathe; 
than government fiat. 

Nor can advocates of gun bans duel 
the evidence adverse to their positioi 
by posing such questions as: Wh] 
should people have handguns; wha 
good do they do; why shouldn't w< 
ban them? In a free country, the bur 
den is not upon the people to shov 
why they should have freedom o 
choice. It is upon those who wish t< 
restrict that freedom to show gooc 
reason for doing so. And when th< 
freedom is as deeply valued by a: 
many as is handgun ownership, th< 
evidence for infringing upon it mus 
be very strong indeed. 



B THE LIKELY BENEFITS of hand- 
gun confiscation have been greatly 
ixaggerated, the financial and con- 
stitutional costs have been largely 
red. Consider the various costs of 
attempt to enforce confiscation 
i a citizenry that believes (whether 
tly or not) that they urgently need 
Iguns for self-defense and that the 
t to keep them is constitutionally 
•anteed. Most confiscationists have 
;r gotten beyond the idea that ban- 
; handguns will make them mag- 
ly disappear somehow. Because 
loathe handguns and consider them 
ess, the prohibitionists assume that 
>e who disagree will readily turn in 
r guns once a national confiscation 
is passed. But the leaders of the na- 
■ handgun prohibition movement 
e become more realistic. They rec- 
ize that defiance will, if anything, 
eed the defiance of Prohibition and 
rijuana laws. After all, not even 
who viewed drinking or pot smok- 
as a blow against tyranny thought, 
many gun owners do, that violating 
law is necessary to the protection 
themselves and their families. More- 
I :r, fear of detection is a lot more 
^;ly to keep citizens from constant 
rchases of liquor or pot than from a 
gle purchase of a handgun, which, 
>perly maintained, will last years. 
To counter the expected defiance, 
: leaders of the national confiscation 
ive propose that handgun ownership 
punished by a nonsuspendable man- 
tory year in prison. The mandatory 
iture is necessary, for otherwise 
osecutors would not prosecute, and 
dges would not sentence, gun own- 
ship with sufficient severity. The 
dge of a special Chicago court try- 
g only gun violations recently ex- 
lined why he generally levied only 
lall fines: The overwhelming ma- 
rity of the "criminals" who come 
iore him are respectable, decent cit- 
jns who illegally carry guns because 
e police can't protect them and they 
ive no other way of protecting them- 
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ition because this would prevent the 
:fendants, whose guns have been con- 
cated, from buying new ones, which, 
e judge believes, they need to live 
id work where they do. 
These views are shared by judges 
id prosecutors nationwide; studies 
id that gun-carrying charges are 
nong the most sympathetically dealt 



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AGAINST CIVIL DISARMAMENT 



with of all felonies. To understand 
why, consider a typical case that would 
have come before this Chicago court 
if the D.A. had not dropped charges. 
An intruder raped a woman and threw 
her out of a fifteenth-floor window. 
Police arrived too late to arrest him, so 
they got her roommate for carrying 
the gun with which she scared him off 
when he attacked her. 

Maybe it is not a good idea for this 
woman to keep a handgun for self-de- 
fense. But do we really want to send her 
to federal prison for doing so? And 
is a mandatory year in prison reason- 
able or just for an ordinary citizen 
who has done nothing more hurtful 
than keeping a gun to defend herself 
— when the minimum mandatory sen- 
tence for murder is only seven years 
and most murderers serve little more? 

Moreover, the kind of nationwide 
resistance movement that a federal 
handgun ban would provoke could 
not be broken by imprisoning a few 
impecunious black women in Chica- 
go. Only by severely punishing a 
large number of respectable citizens of 
every race and social class would re- 
sisters eventually be made to fear the 
law more than the prospect of living 
without handguns in a violent society. 
At a very conservative estimate, at 
least half of our present handgun own- 
ers would be expected to defy a fed- 
eral ban.* To imprison just 1 percent 
of these 25 million people would re- 
quire several times as many cells as 
the entire federal prison system now 
has. The combined federal, state, and 
local jail systems could barely man- 
age. Of course, so massive an enforce- 
ment campaign would also require 



*I reach this estimate in this fashion: 
Surveys uniformly find a majority of gun 
owners support gun registration — in the- 
ory. In practice, however, they refuse to 
register because they believe this will 
identify their guns for confiscation if and 
when a national handgun ban eventual- 
ly passes. In 1968, Chicago police esti- 
mated that two-thirds of the city'* gun 
owners had not complied with the new 
state registration law; statewide noncom- 
pliance was estimated at 75 percent. In 
Cleveland, police estimate that almost 90 
percent of handgun owners are in viola- 
tion of a 1976 registration requirement. 
My estimate that one out of two hand- 
gun owners would defy national confis- 
cation is conservative indeed when be- 
tween two out of three and nine out of 
ten of them are already defying registra- 
tion laws because they beheve such laws 
presage confiscation. 



doubling expenditure for police, pr< 
ecutors, courts, and all the other st 
tors of criminal justice administratio 
The Wisconsin study closes with t 
pertinent query: "Are we willing 
make sociological and economic 
vestments of such a tremendous natu 
in a social experiment for which the 
is no empirical support?" 



THE ARGUMENT AGAINST a fe 
eral handgun ban is much HI 
the argument against ma 
ijuana bans. It is by no meat 
clear that marijuana is the harmlc 
substance that its proponents clain 
But it would take evidence far strong 
than we now have to justify the eno 
mous financial, human, institutions 
and constitutional costs of continuin 
to ferret out, try, and imprison eve 
a small percentage of the otherwi 
law-abiding citizens who insist on he 
ing pot. Sophisticated analysis of th 
criminalization decision takes into ar. 
count not only the harms alleged t 
result from public possession of thing 
like pot or guns, but the capacity o 
the criminal law to reduce those harm 
and the costs of trying to do so. Un 
fortunately most of the gun-control de 
bate never gets beyond the abstrac 
merits of guns — a subject on whicl 
those who view them with undifferen 
tiated loathing are no more rationa 
than those who love them. The posi 
tion of all too many gun-banning lib 
erals is indistinguishable from Archh 
Bunker's views on legalizing pot anc 
homosexuality: "1 don't like it anc 
I don't like those who do — so it oughl 
to be illegal." 

The emotionalism with which man) 
liberals (and conservatives as well) re 
act against the handgun reflects no; 
its reality but its symbolism to people 
who are largely ignorant of that real 
ity. A 1975 national survey found a di 
rect correlation between support foi 
more stringent controls and the inabil 
ity to answer simple questions abou 
present federal gun laws. In othei 
words, the less the respondent knev 
about the subject, the more likely h< 
was to support national confiscation 
Liberals advocate severely punishing 
those who will defy confiscation onh 
because the liberal image of a gui 
owner is a criminal or right-wing fa 
natic rather than a poor black womai 
in Chicago defending herself agains 



rapist or a murderer. Contrary to 
5 stereotype, most "gun nuts" are 
iceful hobbyists whose violence is 
:Iusively of the Walter Mitty type, 
n owners' views are all too often 
jressed in right-wing terms (which 
es nothing for the rationality of the 
bate) because twenty years of liberal 
ification has given them now lu re 
e to look for support. If only lib- 
ds knew it, handgun ownership is 
^proportionately high among the un- 
privileged for whom liberals tradi- 
■nallv have had most sympathy. As 
e most recent (1975) national de- 
ographic survey reports: "The top 
bgroups who own a gun only for 
If-defense include blacks (almost half 
vn one for this reason alone), lowest 
come group, senior citizens." The 
erage liberal has no understanding 
why people have guns because he 
is ii" idea what it is like to live in a 
letto where police have given up on 
ime control. Minority and disadvan- 
ged citizens are not about to give 
p their families' protection because 
iddle-class white liberals living and 
orking in high-security buildings 
tid/or well-policed suburbs tell them 
's safer that way. 

A final cost of national gun confis- 
ition would be the vast accretion of 
nforcement powers to the police at 
le expense of individual liberty. The 
'olice Foundation, which ardently en- 
orses confiscation, recently suggested 
lat federal agencies and local police 
)ok to how drug laws are enforced as 

model of how to enforce firearms 
iws. Coincidentally, the chief topic 
i conversation at the 1977 national 
onference of supporters of federal 
onfiscation was enforcement through 
muse searches of everyone whom sales 
ecords indicate may ever have owned 
i handgun. In fact, indiscriminate 
earch, complemented by electronic 
arveillance and vast armies of snoop- 
:rs and informers, is how handgun 
estrictions are enforced in countries 
ike Holland and Jamaica, and in 
tates like Missouri and Michigan.* 

* According to the ACLU, St. Louis 
lolice have conducted 25,000 illegal 
earches in the past few years under 
he theory that any black man driving a 
ate-model car possesses a handgun. 

Michigan court records indicate that 
ilmost 70 percent of all firearms charges 
(resented are thrown out because the 
vidence was obtained through unconsti- 
utional search. 



Even in England, as the Cambridge 
report notes, each new Firearms Act 
has been accompanied by new, un- 
heard-of powers of search and arrest 
for the police. 

These, then, are the costs of banning 
handguns: even attempting an effective 
ban would involve enormous expen- 
ditures (roughly equal to the present 
cost of enforcing all our other criminal 
laws combined) to ferret out and jail 
hundreds of thousands of decent, re- 
sponsible citizens who believe that they 
vitally need handguns to protect their 
families. If this does not terrorize the 
rest of the responsible handgun own- 
ers into compliance, the effort will have 
to be expanded until millions are 
jailed and the annual gun-banning 
budget closely seconds defense spend- 
ing. And all of this could be accom- 
plished only by abandoning many re- 
straints our Constitution places upon 
police activity. 

What would we have to show for all 
this in terms of crime reduction? Ter- 
rorists, hit men, and other hardened 
criminals who are not deterred by the 



penalties for murder, robbery, rape, 
burglary, et cetera are not about to be 
terrified by the penalties for gun own- 
ership — nor is the more ordinary mur- 
derer, the disturbed, aberrant individ- 
ual who kills out of rage rather than 
cupidity. 

What we should have learned from 
our experience of Prohibition, and 
England's with gun banning, is that 
violence can be radically reduced only 
through long-term fundamental change 
in the institutions and mores that pro- 
duce so many violent people in our 
society. It is much easier to use as 
scapegoats a commonly vilified group 
(drinkers or gun owners) and con- 
vince ourselves that legislation against 
them is an easy short-term answer. But 
violence will never be contained or re- 
duced until we give up the gimmicky 
programs, the scapegoating, the hypo- 
critical hand-wringing, and frankly 
ask ourselves whether we are willing 
to make the painful, disturbing, far- 
reaching institutional and cultural 
changes that are necessary. □ 
harper's/september 1978 



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PROMETHEUS BOUND 



igging the odds against America 



by George Gilder 



Enterprise only pretends to itself to be 
mainly actuated by the statements in its 
own prospectus, however candid and sin- 
cere. Only a little more than an expedition 
to the South Pole is it based on an exact 
calculation of benefits to come. Thus, if 
the animal spirits are dimmed and the 
spontaneous optimism falters, leaving us 
to depend on nothing but a mathematical 
expectation, enterprise ivill falter and die. 

— John Maynard Keynes 
The General Theory of Employment, 
Interest, and Money 

TO many people, the past seems inevi- 
table and the future impossible. His- 
tory is seen to have arisen not from 
unpredictable flows of genius and 
leroism, but more or less inevitably, from 
Dreordained patterns of natural resources and 
aopulation. For those who doubt the decisive 
role of genius, courage, and chance in history, 
the future always appears impossible; they can 
see no way for free nations to escape a fate of 
decline, decay, and coercion, as their grow- 
ing populations press against a closing frontier. 

These attitudes lead to distortions of vision 
ind policy. Strangely enough, the man who 
sees a future blighted by coercion and scar- 
city also tends to believe that the present can 
be made as free of risk and uncertainty as the 
past, receding reassuringly in the reliable 
lenses of hindsight. He calls upon government 
to create an orderly and predictable economy, 



with known energy reserves always equaling 
prospective needs; with jobs always assured in 
current geographic and demographic patterns; 
with monetary demand always expanding to 
absorb expected output of current corporate 
goods; with disorderly foreign intruders ban- 
ished from the marketplace or burdened by 
tariffs and quotas; with invention and creativi- 
ty summoned by bureaucrats for forced 
marches of research and development; with 
inflation insurance in every contract and un- 
employment insurance in every job; with all 
windfall wealth briskly taxed away and un- 
seemly poverty removed by income guarantees. 
In this view, risk and uncertainty are seen to 
be the problem and government the solution 
in the fail-safe quest for a managed economy 
of steady and predictable long-term growth. 

These follies of false security and rational- 
ity are the characteristic delusion of the mod- 
ern age. Abstractions everywhere are confused 
with things. But despite a pretense of scientif- 
ic objectivity, the vision of a comfortably cal- 
culable world has been almost completely 
abandoned by serious thinkers in the hard 
sciences. While modern physicists begin to 
concede freedom to microscopic particles, so- 
cial scientists still begrudge it to human be- 
ings. While chemists and mathematicians ac- 
cept chance and uncertainty, politicians and 
sociologists cling to the determinist dream of 
an orderly, predictable, and risk-free world. 



George Gilder is the 
author of Sexual Sui- 
cide and, most recent- 
ly, Visible Man: A 
True Story of Post- 
racist America. 



35 



George Gilder 
PROMETHEUS 
BOUND 



Capital loss 



M 



OST of OUR ideological debates re- 
volve around the attempt to banish 
danger and uncertainty from hu- 
man affairs. A vivid current exam- 
ple is the dispute over tax policy. Early this 
spring, Washington underwent a small legis- 
lative upheaval on the issue of how much to 
tax the profits of speculative investment. 

A young Republican Congressman on the 
House Ways and Means Committee sought to 
reverse the high levies imposed by the Nixon 
Administration, only to meet with the fierce 
hostility and resistance of the present Admin- 
istration. Joining President Carter against 
the Congressman's idea were the Chairman of 
Ways and Means, the House Democratic lead- 
ership, the united forces of organized labor, 
the Business Roundtable — speaking for the 
executives of some 190 major corporations — 
and the editorial boards of both the New York 
Times and the Washington Post. It has been 
some time since the works of Richard Nixon 
have enjoyed so fervent and prestigious a de- 
fense. 

One might assume that the fight was over 
before it began. Rising in support of the 
young Republican from Wisconsin, however, 
were powers nearly as impressive: a majority 
of the Ways and Means Committee; more than 
sixty U.S. Senators; and an interesting motley 
of others, including Rep. Ron Dellums of 
Berkeley, California, and other young Demo- 
crats, the editorial board of the Wall Street 
Journal, and virtually every American orga- 
nization of small businessmen and venture 
capitalists. 

The Wisconsin Congressman was William 
Steiger, and the proposal that created this 
strange but illuminating cleavage was reversal 
of Nixon's tax reform on capital gains. Capi- 
tal gains are profits derived from the sale of 
assets or equity, such as real estate or corpo- 
rate securities. In order to protect incentives 
for risky but possibly productive investment, 
many countries, like Germany and Japan, re- 
frain from taxing capital gains at all, and even 
socialist Sweden taxes them at less than half 
the American level. As part of a tax reform 
signed by Nixon in 1969, however, the statu- 
tory top rate, as later impacted by minimum 
tax provisions, was lifted from 25 to 49 per- 
cent in the United States. Even this high nom- 
inal rate sometimes understated the effective 
rates. Not only are capital gains aho taxed by 
some states, but during an inflationary period, 
the apparent increase in the value of an asset 
may well be illusory. Thus the government may 



be taxing ostensible gains in companies tha 
have declined in actual value. Partly becaus 
of this interplay of inflation and taxes, nev 
stock issues by smaller firms plummeted in th 
early 1970s from several hundred annual! 
to exactly four in 1975. Yet in 1978, Presiden 
Carter proposed to raise the tax again, to 
top rate of 52 percent, in order to preven 
"windfalls for the rich." 

The businessmen who were willing to accepl 
such drastic taxation of rapid growth were al 
from mature and established companies. The) 
preferred to cling to the Carter program o: 
corporate and personal income tax reductions, 
an expanded investment tax credit, and ac 
celerated depreciation. 

This conflict appears minor: a technical 
choice among ways of lowering taxes and pro- 
moting enterprise. But the choice is anything! 
but minor and technical. It embodies whatl 
Jane Jacobs has called the central conflict in] 
every economy. This is not the split between! 
capitalists and workers, technocrats and hu-J 
manists, government and business, liberals andll 
conservatives, rich and poor. It is the struggle! 
between past and future, between the existing I 
configuration of industries and the industries I 
that someday will replace them. It is the con- 
flict between the risk takers and the risk avert- 
ers, established factories, technologies, for- 
mations of capital, and ventures that today] 
may not even exist, that today may flicker] 
only as ideas, or tiny companies, or obscure 
research projects, or fierce but penniless ambi- 
tions, that today are unidentifiable and incal- 
culable from above, but which, in time, in a 
progressing economy, must rise up if growth 
is to occur. In fact, long-range growth may be 
defined as the replacement of current indus- 
tries and techniques and products by better or 
more efficient ones. 

Sir Henry Bessemer, the creator of the Bes- 
semer method of large-scale steel production, 
vividly described such a nineteenth-century mo- 
ment of discovery and displacement. After his 
first breakthrough in tests for making steel he 
wrote: "I could now see in my mind's eye, at 
a glance, the great iron industry of the world 
crumbling away under the irresistible forces 
of the facts so recently elicited." As economist 
Joseph Schumpeter wrote in Capitalism, So- 
cialism, and Democracy: 



Creative destruction is the essential fact 
about capitalism . . . ; it is by nature a form 
or method of economic change, and not 
only never is, but never can be stationary. 
. . . The fundamental impulse that sets and 
keeps the capitalist engine in motion comes 
from the new consumers' goods, the new 



36 



George Gilder methods of production or transportation, 

— Z, the new markets, the new forms of indus- 

r KUMxL 1 JrllLi U o trial organization that capitalist enterprise 

BOUND creates - 

Progress absolutely depends on the willing- 
ness of government to allow the future to 
prevail. 

As capitalist governments weave their ten- 
tacles ever more deeply into the economic 
fabric, however, their bureaus enlist more and 
more on the side of the established order, and 
thus on the side of stagnation as opposed to 
growth. A legislator usually supports the most 
powerful businesses in his district. Labor 
unions are deeply influential in politics, and 
they normally back the interests of the big 
companies that they have already organized. 
Bureaucracies often are closely allied with the 
industries they regulate or patronize, and in 
any case the regulations tend to favor the old 
ways of doing things. Even when governments 
choose to help business, they often act through 
investment credits, tariffs, quotas, and tax in- 
centives that favor existing industries. 

These government tendencies are reinforced 
by the media. While more than 300,000 small 
businesses involving many millions of jobs ex- 
pire annually without notice, the death throes 
of a corporate leviathan provide a drama that 
captivates the press. Boeing loses the contract 
for a supersonic transport, and the networks 
descend on Seattle to depict that thriving city 
in images of the Great Depression because a 
few thousand well-paid technicians with ample 
unemployment insurance may be out of work 
for a while. The halls of Congress begin to ring 
with a rhetoric of emergency programs and 
subsidies. 



Governments everywhere are torn 
between the clamor of troubled ob- 
solescence and the claims of unmet 
opportunity; between the sufferers of 
aging pains and the sufferers of growing pains: 
between enterprises shrinking from competi- 
tion or asking subsidies for their errors, and 
companies seeking human and capital re- 
sources to meet new demands. 

The threatened industries of the past always 
turn to politics to protect them from change. 
Failure demands finance. A government pre- 
occupied with the statistics of crisis will often 
find itself subsidizing problems, shoring up 
essentially moribund patterns of economic and 
social activity, creating incentives for unem- 
ployment, inflation, family breakdown, housing 
decay, and municipal deficits, making prob- 
lems worse by making them profitable. 

Throughout Washington today, behind the 



inevitable rhetoric of innovation and progres:i 
the facades of futurity, these forces of obstru( 
tion are gathering: an energy department e? 
alting counterproductive new taxes and pric 
controls; a department of housing promotin 
rent controls; even a National Center for Pre 
ductivity forced to celebrate the least produc 
tive of all unions — both the steelworkers an 
the American Federation of State, Count) 
and Municipal Employees. 

Despite his best intentions, the governmen 
planner will tend to live in the past, for onl 
the past is sure and calculable. In response t 
the inevitable crises of scarcity, he will pre 
scribe, as progress, a series of faintly disguise* 
anachronisms: a revival of canals and wind 
mills, or a renaissance of consumer coopera 
tives, or a return to small-lot farming. 

Current government programs, in fact, cai 
be seen as a far-reaching and resourceful de 
fense of the status quo against all emerging 
competitors. Economic policy focuses on stim 
ulating aggregate demand for existing prod 
ucts rather than on promoting the supply o 
new ones. Investment credits and rapid depre 
ciation allowances favor the re-creation oi 
current capital stock rather than the creatior 
of new forms of capital and modes of produc- 
tion. Antitrust activity is directed chief!) 
against successful competitors (IBM) rathei 
than against industries that refuse to compete 
(the steel industry). Government regulatory 
policy rewards the company that follows pre 
scriptions, rather than the company that avoids 
them with new techniques and products. Oui 
floating exchange rates deal with U.S. lapses 
in international trade by depreciating the 
dollar rather than by forcing a competitive 
response of greater productivity or new prod- 
ucts. Our taxation and subsidy systems art- 
fully cushion failure (of businesses, individu- 
als, and municipalities), reward the creativity 
and resourcefulness chiefly of corporate law- 
yers and accountants, and wait hungrily in 
ambush for all unexpected and thus unsheltered 
business success. 

There is a similar bias in our social and 
employment programs. The civil service joins 
with affirmative-action rules to grant jobs and 
promotions on the basis of nearly immutable 
credentials like test scores, diplomas, race, and 
sex. rather than on competitive performance 
of work. The nation's employment policies are 
increasingly based on new forms of tenure 
and entitlement rather than on expanding op- 
portunities and new kinds of jobs. 

Most of these policies are designed to pro- 
tect businesses and individuals from risk and 
competition, inflation and unemployment. But 
the effort to escape inflation by indexing the 



38 



omes of favored groups and to fight unem- 
yment by subsidizing outmoded jobs merely 
kes these problems worse, and foists them 

the unorganized majority: onto small 
sinesses, onto nonunion workers, and onto 

public at large in a stagnant economy. As 
rton Klein has shown in his brilliant new 
>k, Dynamic Economics, the effect of the 
/ernment s efforts to shield itself and its 
;nts from uncertainty and risk is to place 

1 entire system in peril. It becomes at once 
► rigid and too soft to react resourcefully 
the new shocks and sudden challenges that 
5 inevitable in a dangerous world. 
Supporting the future is technically easy 

government to do. It can perform economic 

Iracles merely by enforcing the laws equally, 
fighting monopoly, by removing barriers 
trade, and by lifting the dead hand of taxa- 
I »n and bureaucracy. Only slightly more diffi- 
i It is imposing a sensible structure of penal- 
. :s and incentives on industries that pollute 
' defile the environment, protecting patents 
, id property rights, promoting educational 
1 cellence — above all in science and technol- 
;y — and maintaining a reasonable balance in 
i own accounts (in relation to the level of 
:onomic activity and employment ) . That is, 
>vernment best supports the future by refrain- 
g as much as possible from attempting to 
tape it, for in a democracy the shape of gov- 
nment policy nearly always conforms with 
le current incidence of political power, which 
erives from the configuration of existing cap- 
al and labor: with an overlay of rhetoric 
nd bureaucratic expansion in its name. 
This is why the current debate over tax pol- 
:y is so crucial and revealing. The distinctions 
re relatively simple. Cuts in the tax on capital 
ains chiefly benefit companies that expect to 
row fast, i.e., new and innovating companies, 
'he few that succeed will indeed "hit the jack- 
iot," win "obscene windfall riches," if that 
hetoric appeals. Cuts in corporate income 
axes and enlargements in the investment tax 
redit, on the other hand, are less likely to 
iring such untoward results. The chief benefits 
nil go to companies that are established and 
irofitable, and subject to union pressures. The 
noney will tend to be spent for higher wages 
nd for the repair and reduplication of current 
apital formations rather than for the develop- 
lent of new ones — for inflation rather than 
movation. Expansion will come through ho- 
logeneous growth or through mergers. In re- 
ent years, in fact, the stock market has been 
irgely preoccupied not with anticipating in- 
ovations and growth but with speculating on 
ikeover attempts, as big companies give up on 
enerating progress and try to avoid risk by 



diversification. When big companies avoid 
risk, however, they become reactionary, be- 
cause all important progress and innovation 
is dependent on accepting risk and entering 
the realms of the unknown. 



The "hiding hand" 



The damage of fail-safe policies is 
most vivid in the small and struggling 
economies of the Third World. With 
a passionate devotion to the ideals of 
welfare and central control and an undeniable 
need for public works and investments, the 
developing countries provide continuing les- 
sons in the perplexities of planning. Econ- 
omist Albert O. Hirschman has discovered in 
the trials and errors — and occasional suc- 
cesses — of these countries, a crucial principle 
of economic progress. 

In an article in The Public Interest ( winter, 
1967), Hirschman recounted the story of a 
hydroelectric station that was built to stimulate 
industrial development in rural Uganda. No 
boom occurred, and five years later the proj- 
ect seemed a complete fiasco, until transmis- 
sion lines were built to deliver the power first 
to neighboring Kenya and later to smaller 
towns elsewhere in Uganda. The station thus 
thrived, and when Hirschman studied it en- 
largement was underway. The hydroelectric 
station was a success, despite the fact that 
few of its expected effects or intended pur- 
poses were fulfilled. 

Another case was the Karnaphuli pulp-and- 
paper mill in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). 
Built in 1953 to exploit the vast bamboo for- 
ests along the upper reaches of the Karnaphuli 
River, the mill had been in fitful operation for 
several years and had passed into private 
hands, when the bamboo unexpectedly burst 
into flower — as bamboo does every sixty sum- 
mers or so — and became useless. It turned out 
that many years would elapse before the seeds 
would grow into usable timber. The catastro- 
phe was apparently total. But, instead, the 
network of East Pakistan's rivers and canals 
was used to transport random pulpwood from 
throughout the country. Not only was this ap- 
proach a success for the mill, it also provided 
profitable activity in towns all over East Pa- 
kistan. In his article Hirschman offered sim- 
ilar examples from other Third World coun- 
tries — successful results that totally failed to 
correspond to the plans and intentions that 
gave them birth — and proposed as a theory 
"the principle of the hiding hand." Leaders in 
less developed countries seem able to muster 
in themselves and their followers the confi- 



. . . govern- 
ment best 
supports the 
future by 
refraining as 
much as pos- 
sible from 
attempting to 
shape it . . ." 



39 



dence and willpower to commence a major 
undertaking only if its dangers and difficulties 
are obscured. This "hiding hand" takes the 
form of a vast overestimation of benefits and 
underestimation of difficulties. There is usual- 
ly a pretense of planning and expertise that 
suggests that all problems have been antici- 
pated and the solutions are known. 

Such a "hiding hand" seems to have been 
active in the industrial development of the 
United States during the first half of the nine- 
teenth century. Economic historian John Saw- 
yer has observed that "miscalculation or sheer 
ignorance" of costs and difficulties was impor- 
tant in the launching of a number of great and 
ultimately successful businesses, from canals 
and railroads to mining and manufacture. 
Hirschman writes in his article: 

Creativity always comes as a surprise to us, 
therefore we can never count on it and we 
dare not believe in it until it has hap- 
pened. . . . Since we necessarily underesti- 
mate our creativity, it is desirable that we 
underestimate to a roughly similar extent 
the difficulties. . . . 

Then we will undertake tasks 

ivhich we can, but otherwise would not 
dare tackle. . . .The Hiding Hand is essen- 
tially a mechanism which makes a risk 
averter take risks and turns him into less 
of a risk averter in the process. 

Of course, the entrepreneurs themselves will 
not see it this way. They will not imagine that 
they may have stumbled into their greatest 
achievements. As Hirschman puts it, in a lin- 
guistic aper^u: "We fall into error, but do not 
usually speak of falling into truth." 

Hirschman has fallen into some of the most 
vital truths of human society, but does not 
quite dare to extend them beyond the less de- 
veloped world. Things are different, he seems 
to assume, in modern economies, with their 
panoply of computers and econometric mod- 
els, their coolly Galbraithian managers and en- 
trepreneurs, their increasingly routinized re- 
search and development techniques, their new 
methods of market analysis and manipulation, 
their populations of "risk-taking, achievement- 
motivated men." 

Hirschman implies I though he surely knows 
better i that in modern societies planning is 
successful: costs are correctly estimated and 
benefits clearly foreseen. Yet it seems obvious 
that if Hirschman had directed his attentions 
to contemporary modern societies, he would 
have discovered the same pattern that he found 
in nineteenth-century America and in the Third 
World: Planning sometimes succeeds in mani- 



George Gilder 
PROMETHEUS 
BOUND 



pulating markets or governments, but rarely 
in generating new enterprise or substantial 
growth. From France to the Philippines, plans 
are propounded, given lip serv ice, and flouted. 
Countries like Taiwan and the Ivory Coast, 
which leave room for uncontrolled private 
ventures, grow faster than their more central- 
ized neighbors. 



GOVERNMENTS AND BUSINESSES must 
have some concept of goals and direc- 
tions. Detailed blueprints can be use- 
ful in seeking gains through imitation. 
Nonetheless, the developing countries are lit- 
tered with projects undertaken in the false as- 
surance that any random river valley is a site 
for "another TVA" and that steel and auto in- 
dustries can be copied by bureaucrats mobi- 
lized in military array. Progress and creativity 
cannot be forced or prescribed, except at costs 
far beyond the reach of any Third World coun- 
try or of any competitive firm anywhere. There 
is no way to escape for long the necessity of 
openness and risk. 

This truth is anathema to those who seek a 
risk-free scheme of development and growth, 
whether unlettered leftist generals assuming 
control of small nations or smooth-talking cor- 
porate leaders in the U.S. The rule of risk ap- 
plies alike to national planning and private 
business, to advanced technical industries and 
even to the movies. John Gregory Dunne's ex- 
traordinary book The Studio tells of the foi- 
bles of planning during a year of high expec- 
tations under new leadership at Twentieth 
Century Fox. In preparation — and preoccupy- 
ing the executives — were several colossal "sure 
things," including Doctor Dolittle with Rex 
Harrison, Star! with Julie Andrews ( coming 
off her Sound of Music bonanza), and Hello 
Dally with Barbra Streisand. The sure-thing 
superhits, how r ever, would have brought the 
company near bankruptcy, if it had not been 
for an afterthought cheapie (several times 
nearly canceled in the interests of economy) 
named Planet of the Apes. Star Wars was later 
to perform a similar miracle for the studio. 

The unpredictability that Hirschman took 
to be a malady of underdevelopment is, in fact, 
the incalculable condition of all economic 
progress. To deal with uncertainty, one must 
have enough faith in the future to take risks. 
Faith moves mountains, evokes commitments, 
and lowers interest rates: risk propels adven- 
ture and innovation. 

To a great extent, plans are the mythology 
of a secular rationalist world: they are de- 
signed, paradoxically, to get the planners out 
of the way, to appease the bureaucrats and 



10 



ciers, so work and faith and ingenuity 
proceed. As clothing executive Richard 
non told the Wall Street Journal, "Every- 
praises carefully tested methods and long- 
; planning. Yet the most successful moves 
iften on-the-spot responses to completely 
pected situations, taking a company to 
s it never before imagined." When the 
ling is taken too seriously, as in totalitar- 
tates, stagnation results and most creativ- 
as to be imported in the form of goods 
abroad. 



Risk, faith, and the frontier 

rHE attempt OF the welfare state to 
deny, suppress, and plan away the 
dangers and uncertainties of our lives 
— to domesticate the inevitable un- 
own — affronts human nature. Even the most 
imitive of men tend to invent forms of gam- 
ng (dice in most societies preceded the 
»eel) as well as religions (faith always pre- 
des works ) . The government devoted to sup- 
essing uncertainty finds itself forever having 
channel or suppress the human will to risk. 
In this country, the impulse to gamble and 
>k is often driven from the economy, from 
rious life, into fantasy and frivolity — games 
d wagers — or diverted from productive ac- 
/ity into courtroom assaults against the pro- 
ictive. One of the best remaining ways to 
rike it rich — the best remaining scene for 
imbling, with the odds against the productive 
acked ever higher by government — is the 
vil suit: malpractice, product liability, dis- 
imination, antitrust, libel, pollution, whatev- 
, the government has created a vast new 
veepstakes open to the man willing to play 
>r high stakes and to the law firms that join 
i the new champerty. In a good many cases 
le victim is a man of courage and faith who 
ares risk his own money to bring a new prod- 
ct or service to the public. Caveat productor 
. the new rule. 
For citizens without the means or litigious 
ent to sue for a living, the state is widely 
siting up simpler lotteries of its own, opening 
n every block a storefront for the gambling 
npulse, advertising on billboards the govern- 
lent games. And everywhere it tells the in- 
redible lie that its lottery affords a better deal 
"where no one has a better chance than 
ou"), a fairer opportunity than the real and 
ontinuing lotteries of lower-class life; that it 
> more promising to place your wagers on 
The New York Bets" than in the U.S. econ- 
my. The effect is to trivialize and stultify the 
'ill to risk and work that is the only real hope. 



of the poor. It is to deprive our economy of the 
new businesses and activities that the poor 
otherwise would engender by their hard work 
and enterprise. 

A society that immobilizes its poor by exces- 
sive welfare and trivial games — government 
bread and circuses — removes a major source 
of economic growth and change. The economic 
history of America is largely the saga of suc- 
cessive generations of the poor, toughened by 
hardship, who overcame all odds to move up: 
launching new businesses and spurring the 
middle class into greater efforts and accom- 
plishments. By pampering and demoralizing 
the poor, government impoverishes the whole 
society. 

Similarly with the rich, the government 
makes the dubious claim that it can use wealth 
more productively than a free capitalist. So 
its tax policy raises the always adverse odds 
of enterprise to the point that they no longer 
invite the investor. While the poor man swings 
between welfare and the state lottery, the rich 
man alternates between personal gambling and 
municipal bonds. The stochastic margin of 
progress — the frontier of the economy — is be- 
ing closed off by obtuse taxation and bureau- 
cracy. 

Most redistributive activity is based on se- 
rious misunderstandings of the nature and 
sources of wealth and innovation. Seeing the 
high levels of chance involved in each particu- 
lar business success, many officials and intel- 
lectuals conclude that most large capital gains 
are in a sense both unearned and unanticipa- 
ted, and no factor in either personal motivation 
or efficient allocation of resources. Two of the 
nation's leading thinkers on the Left, Lester C. 
Thurow and Christopher Jencks, ended their 
ambitious studies of inequality* with the con- 
clusion that crucial in most fortunes, great and 
small, is luck. The beneficiary, like a raffle 
winner, was at the right place at the right time, 
and in a rational system should not be permit- 
ted to convert his luck into real economic 
power, any more than the myriad losers should 
suffer more than limited liability for their 
losses. 

Indeed, risk and faith do produce much 
more waste and inefficiency than any well- 
trained planner could tolerate or defend. Some 
300,000 new businesses start every year in 
America, two-thirds fail within five years, and 
the median small businessman earns less than 
a New York City garbage collector. Of the 
thousands of plausible inventions, only scores 
are tested by business, and only a handful of 
these are an economic success. Perhaps 90 per- 

*Lester C. Thurow, Generating Inequality, 1975; 
Christopher Jencks et al., Inequality, 1972. 



'The stochastic 
margin of 
progress — the 
frontier of 
the economy — 
is being closed 
off by obtuse 
taxation and 
bureaucracy." 



41 



George Gilder 
PROMETHEUS 
BOUND 



HARPER'S 



SEPTEMBER 1978 



cent of trade hardcover books lose money for 
the publisher, and a still higher proportion rep- 
resent a net loss for the author; an even greater 
number, comprising untold months or years of 
labor, are never published at all. But such 
waste and irrationality is the secret of econom- 
ic growth. Because no one knows which venture 
will succeed, which number will win the lot- 
tery, a society ruled by faith and risk rather 
than by rational calculus, a society open to the 
future rather than planning it, will call forth 
an endless stream of invention, enterprise, and 
art. The greatest irony of modern economics 
is that the kind of "economic man" at its cen- 
ter, the rational optimizer of wealth, could 
rarely create wealth, or dare invest in the fron- 
tier enterprises of growth. 



THE issue goes far beyond economics. 
Charles Peirce, perhaps America's 
greatest philosopher and leading the- 
oretician of probability, has shown 
that chance not only is at the center of human 
reality, but also is the deepest source of reason 
and morality. "The idea that chance begets 
order is the cornerstone of modern physics," 
and, he might have added, of biology as well. 

The movement of chance and probability 
toward order and truth, however, is not as- 
sured in any one lifetime. The odds are against 
each individual in the serial lotteries of his 
own life, which inevitably end, after all. in 
decline and death. Risk cannot be shown to 
work except in the long run of trial and error; 
in fact, a rational calculation of personal gain 
would impel an individual above all to avoid 
risk and seek security. In our world of fortuity, 
one would conclude, the invisible hand of self- 
interest would lead to an ever-enlarging wel- 
fare state — to stasis and sterility. This is the 
root of our crisis today. 

The acceptance of risk implies a commit- 
ment to values that go beyond rational self- 
interest to embrace family and future. Progress 
springs ultimately from morality and faith, 
from beliefs, usually religious, that transcend 
the individual life and reach into the future 
of the race. 

The narrow economic and sociological per- 
spective engenders a despairing pessimism 
about our prospects as a free people. Econo- 
mist Robert Heilbroner and anthropologist 
Marvin Harris speak for a consensus of secur- 
ity-minded intellectuals in arguing that the 
future cannot be mastered in freedom — that 
without authoritarian controls the race is 
doomed to a grim decline, as rising popula- 
tions press against a wasting earth. 

What they fail to comprehend is that the 



visibly possible achievements, the clearly aval 
able resources, are always limited. All plai 
based on the calculable present, on the exis 
ing statistics, necessarily presume a declinir 
field of choice, a contraction of possibilitie 
an exhaustion of resources, a diminishing ( 
returns — entropy and decay. The only unlimi 
ed resource, the one that can release us froi 
all the others, is the imagination and creativit 
of free men. 

The most dire and fatal hubris for any lea( 
er is to cut his people off from providenc 
from the miraculous prodigality of chance, b 
substituting a closed system of human plai 
ning. Innovation is always unpredictable, an 
thus an effect of faith and freedom. 

In the United States today we are facin 
the usual calculus of impossibility, recited b 
the familiar aspirants to a master plan. It i 
said we must abandon economic freedom b< 
cause our frontier is closed: because our bi< 
sphere is strained, because our resources ai 
running out, because our technology is pe: 
verse, because our population is dense, becaus 
our horizons are closing in. We walk, it is saic 
in a shadow of death, depleted air, poisone 
earth and water, a fallout of explosive growt 
showering from the clouds of our future in 
quiet carcinogenic rain. In this extremity, w 
cannot afford the luxuries of competition an 
waste and freedom. We have reached the en 
of the open road; we are beating against th 
gates of an occluded frontier. We must tax an 
regulate and plan, redistribute our wealth an 
ration our consumption, because we hav 
reached the end of openness. 

But quite to the contrary, these problem 
and crises are in themselves the new frontier 
are themselves the mandate for individual an< 
corporate competition and creativity, are them 
selves the reason why we cannot afford tin 
consolations of planning and stasis. The oh 
frontier of the American West also appeare< 
closed at first. Only in retrospect could th« 
achievements of the past be seen as easy o 
inevitable. America became an open reservoi 
of wealth only in retrospect, because the pio 
neers dared to risk their lives and families ii 
the quest for riches, looking for gold (o 
which there was relatively little in the U. S." 
and eventually finding oil. Only in retrospec 
were the barrens of Texas and Oklahoma ai 
energy cornucopia, the flat prairies a bread 
basket for the world, or Thomas Edison a cat 
alytic genius and Henry Ford the salvation o 
capitalism in the grips of an earlier closing 
circle. The future is forever incalculable. It: 
challenges can be mastered only by those wh( 
are willing and permitted to enter the un 
known. 



42 



OIL AND WATER 



In the wake of the Argo Merchant 



by Michael Harwood 



NE MORNING this January, as I stood at a win- 
dow in an auditorium at the University of 
Rhode Island and watched a snowstorm piping 
up to a blizzard on Narragansett Bay, I mar- 
veled at the wonderful complexity of the view enclosed 
within the frame of the window — the surface of the 
bay, the moving air, the sky, the gulls and the starlings, 
man and his constructions and wastes. We are only 
beginning, I thought, to understand how it works and 
interacts — even though it goes on in our element. 

Behind me in the sloped lecture hall conferees gath- 
ered for the final, summary session of a three-day sym- 
posium, "In the Wake of the Argo Merchant," which 
had been sponsored by the university's Center for 
Ocean Management Studies. To a great degree, this 
symposium marked the formal end of an effort by 
marine scientists to assess the ecological impact of the 
Argo Merchant oil spill near Nantucket more than 
thirteen months earlier. They'd discovered some inter- 
esting things, all right, and had added considerably to 
the understanding of oil spill behavior and effects. But 
it seemed to me that the largest lesson they and the 
Argo Merchant spill had to teach the attentive layman 
was how little we know about the ocean, how little man 
apparently cares to know, and how simpleminded and 
dishonest, ir this context, the environmental debate 
about oil spills often becomes. If we are still ignorant 
about many of the things going on in nature, up where 
we can see them and smell them and taste them, con- 
sider how much more difficult it is to observe and un- 
derstand the three-dimensional ocean, never mind the 
impact on that ocean of quite suddenly injecting into 
a small area several million gallons of oil. 




efore dawn on December 15, 1976, the tanker 
Argo Merchant, bound in for Salem, Massa- 
chusetts, with 7.5 million gallons of thick in- 
dustrial-grade oil from a Venezuelan refinery, 
ran aground on Fishing Rip, Nantucket Shoals, twenty- 
seven miles southeast of Nantucket Island. Her Greek 
captain tried unsuccessfully to work the ship off the 
shoal, but she was hard aground, and a cracked 
seawater intake pipe flooded the engine room, putting 
out the boilers. At 7:00 A.M. the Coast Guard station 
at Brant Point on Cape Cod received a Mayday call 
from the Argo Merchant. 

Dr. Charles Bates, chief science adviser to the Com- 
mandant of the Coast Guard, remembers people at 
headquarters saying as soon as they heard about the 
grounding, "No one's ever got a ship off there yet." 
Still, for that day and the next five, the Coast Guard 
and private salvagers tried to free the tanker from the 
shoal, and then at least to save some of her cargo and 
keep it from the sea. The first signs of an oil leak were 
seen within hours of the grounding, and by the second 
night oil was spilling in large amounts. Eventually the 
tanker broke in pieces, and her entire cargo — except 
for one quart of oil dipped out as a sample — was lost. 

The accident ignited a major environmental uproar, 
and it also initiated the most intensive and wide-rang- 
ing study yet undertaken of the impact of a single oil 
spill in the ocean. There was good reason for concern. 
In its raw form and as fuel, oil is toxic — poisonous to 
most creatures, especially in sudden, heavy doses. The 
United States and other nations were importing more 
oil each year, and tanker accidents were bound to in- 
crease. At the same time, there seemed to be a national 



Michael Harwood is an environmental journalist, author of The View from Hawk Mountain and The View from Great Gull, and 
co-author, with Eliot Porter, of Moments of Discovery: Adventures in American Birds. 



43 



commitment to exploring and drilling for oil on the 
outer continental shelf ; the probes off the coast of New 
Jersey were already being scheduled. Both the drilling 
and most of the accidents would happen between the 
limits of the shelf and the dry land — where nearly all 
the important activities of the planet's marine life also 
take place, and where most of the fishing goes on. 

It was a new concern, however, and it was still grow- 
ing. Not ten years had passed since the Torrey Canyon 
disaster on the other side of the Atlantic; a lot of sea- 
birds had been killed then, a lot of British and French 
beaches oiled, and oil spills had begun to be seriously 
thought of as potentially dangerous to the environ- 
ment. But ten years is hardly enough time for the hu- 
man community to turn its head and really look at 
something. That fact was reflected in many ways. Ac- 
cording to Jack Gould, an organic chemist at the Amer- 
ican Petroleum Institute, the oi